Amber’s Goodreads review of XVI by Julia Karr

XVI (XVI, #1)XVI by Julia Karr

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had an interesting and promising premise but I was dissatisfied with the execution. The “sex-teen” thing was a specter over the entire thing, but most of the conflict was over the looming danger of Ed and the mystery of Nina’s father. The synopsis made it seem like the “sex-teen” part would be more central. I think it would’ve been more interesting if the main character was already sixteen and the perils were more immediate. To me this was a bigger sticking point than any perceived “preachyness” regarding teenage sex on the part of the author.
There are also a lot of unanswered questions: when, why and how did the designation of sixteen as “sex legal” and the corresponding tattooing begin? How did society go from supposedly discouraging teenage sexuality while the media plays it up, from society encouraging it? Why did FeLS start, and who did they think would be fooled?

It was hardly surprising to find that “Female Liason Specialists” supposedly a diplomatic position requiring girls to be virgins, was a front for the sex trade. Why are these diplomats supposedly needed? What is the official story on why they need to be girls, much less virgin girls? They could hardly be less subtle than if they were called “comfort hostesses” for the Mars miners or something.


In the end, the whole “sex-teen” premise seemed more like an attention-grabber that wasn’t fleshed out nearly enough. The story was interesting, but overall didn’t live up to the hype.

View all my reviews


~ by Amber on March 8, 2012.

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