Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review: Birthmarked

Caragh M. O'Brien
2010; Roaring Brook; ISBN 978-1-59643-569-8 (hardcover)

Summary: In a bleak future world, Gaia lives outside a city known as the Enclave, perched on the shore of a dried-out Great Lake. Gaia is a midwife, following in her mother's footsteps--her only option in life due to her scarred face. But when her parents are arrested for an unknown crime, sixteen-year-old Gaia is plunged into confusion. The arrest seems related to Advancement: the practice of each midwife to take the first three babies delivered each month to the Enclave, to be adopted into new families. The only way for Gaia to learn her parents' fate is to sneak into the Enclave. In the city, helped by unlikely allies, Gaia will learn the Enclave's darkest secrets--and she will reveal them.

A densely-plotted dystopian novel, Birthmarked combines genetics with family. Feisty, independent Gaia has an outsider's perspective on life within the luxurious Enclave. Determined to save her parents, Gaia will make difficult choices, ones that could risk her developing relationship with Leon, a soldier who has a secret of his own. As Leon's past combines with questions about her parents, Gaia must find freedom once she has learned the truth. Readers in search of a meaty, futuristic story with romance and action will find all those characteristics in Birthmarked.

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