Every 16-year-old girl gets one—the XVI tattoo. It’s for protection, it’s a symbol of female status, or it’s a curse, depending on who you ask. To 15-year-old Nina, it’s dangerous; if she could drag her feet a little further and slow time, she would. XVI means girls are legal, and while this means most “sex-teens” can finally lure in guys, Nina knows it comes with serious sacrifices.

After Nina’s family is shattered by her mother’s death, what little protection she had left as a 15-year-old evaporates. With her dying breath, Nina’s mom tells her to find her father, who was supposed to be dead, and to keep her little sister Dee away from Ed, a violent government official who holds a little too much sway over Nina’s family.

Nina soon finds herself flirting with the world of the rebel NonCons. Though being a NonCon will get you killed, Nina’s connection to these hidden denouncers of the Governing Council cannot be avoided. She turns to her friends for help, but a mysterious boy named Sal seems to be the only one who can help her hide in a world where no one is hidden, not even their thoughts.

Julia Karr’s Orwellian novel, XVI, depicts a world where present problems have been pushed to their extremes. Society is dominated by whatever the media says, girls are too blinded by the rush to impress and reel in boys, and sometimes it feels as though technology has left no privacy in the world. Karr’s novel is perfect for girls who have begun to ask questions about themselves and about how they are supposed to act under the barrage of sexual influences. Our heroine Nina lives within every girl who is willing to fight to define herself all on her own.

 

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