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Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

>>Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: Chemical Garden #1
Format: ARC
Pages: 137/356
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Rating: No Grade

From Goodreads: What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

As you can see from the no grade, I didn't finish Wither. There's a lot of positive reviews out there and I found that I wasn't able to get into this book as much as others.

The biggest problem I had with Wither was maintaining my suspension of disbelief. DeStefano created a harsh dystopian world that, I think, took backseat to
the romantic story. In her world women die at 20 and men at 25, and it's not very clear whether this was a virus or genetic disease (although the desire for perfect mates made me think it might be genetic). Our heroine, Rhine, is kidnapped from her tragic life with her twin brother and is inserted into this mansion in Florida that also holds two other girls (wives). One thing I didn't understand was, if the world was so full of orphans, why do people have to kidnap girls to marry? Why not take the orphaned girls rather than ones not wanting to go? Also, if the girls are so precious, why kill them so easily?

Rhine is chosen to live (according to her) on her unique trait of having one blue and one brown eye. A lot of the selection of girls was based on appearance, which confused me, because if you were trying to cure this virus/disease, why would you base it on certain looks of the women? Why not use all girls, since who knows who will be the one to have the right traits?

In the end, I thought that the world would have been better explored if not for the huge focus on a love triangle-type romance. Rhine didn't do anything for me. As another reviewer pointed out, if you had four years to live and you were starving to death, why wouldn't you be more interested in living the high life for the last years of your life in a mansion? These questions sat in the back of my mind as I read and finally decided I wasn't interested in the romance and relationship between Rhine and the other characters.

ARC provided by Simon & Schuster.


  1. Thanks for the honest review here.

    I was wondering what you would think of this book. I kind of thought you might not care for it as much as the others who have been raving for it. And not that the book is bad.

    I have not read the book yet. But I don't think I'm going to get it as I don't think it's one for me. And that is just from my feelings of all the reviews I've read, mostly the ones that loved it. :)

    thank you!

  2. Thanks for the nice comment! :)

    Yeah, I definitely think many would like this book, especially those more interested in the characters and their relationships, but it wasn't for me.

  3. Hey Lisa, you are always welcome. :)

    And I thought that what so many have been loving about this book, just didn't sound like it was something I would love like them. :) So, I've decided to pass on it. :) Thank you!

  4. It seems that reviewers are either raving or disputing this book. I just bought a copy last week. I'm still excited to read it, but am getting more nervous as more less than stellar reviews are popping up!

  5. This book is just WOW. It blew me away. Literally. I was so engrossed in the book, so connected with Rhine that I felt her angry, her pain, her longing for freedom. She was so strong. How she manages not to fall apart completely is beyond me. Poor thing had to just keep picking herself up and keep going. Rhine played her role so good, at times I thought that maybe she was giving in.



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