Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) by Lauren DeStefano: Book Review

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1)
by Lauren DeStefano
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0905-7
Suggested Ages: 14+ (Due to sexuality and violence)
Published: March 22, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

The Good Stuff
  • Sort of reminded me of Atwood's Handmaid's Tale for the younger set. 
  • Intriguing premises, would be a great book for YA book clubs to discuss
  • Fascinating and in some cases, seriously creepy, characters
  • Complex but realistic relationships between the sister wives
  • Very realistic dystopian landscape, damaged, but still recognizable
  • Was extremely impressed with how sensitively the author has told this tale.  Much of the sexuality is just hinted about and not described in detail, which is very fresh.
  • Love the cover
  • Even thought the subject of the book is bleak and disturbing their is a faint hint of hope throughout the book
  • Heartbreaking at times, cried my eyes out when reading
  • Secondary characters are also intriguing and hopefully some of them will be fleshed out in the rest of the series
  • Interesting commentary on the consequences of science and research
  • Beautifully written, an author whose descriptions are so vivid you feel you are there in the book with them.
The Not so Good Stuff
  • A little bleak and disturbing at times
  • How long am I going to have to wait till the next book comes out
  • Would have liked a little more back info and development of character for Jenna, although it does work for the story
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I'm relieved, because this means nobody can look up my dress. And something tells me some of these House Governors would try."

"Hello," she says, in a tone that's gentle as only a child's can be. "How are you feeling?"
My answer wouldn't be kind, so I don't say anything."

"All we were taught of Geography was that the world had once been made up of seven continents and several countries, but a third world war demolished all but North America, the continent with the most advanced technology."

What I Learned
  • Man it really sucks to be a women in this version of the future
  • Seems I like dystopian YA novels
Who should/shouldn't read
  • I would really recommend this for the more mature YA reader. Young or sensitive readers may have a hard time with the subject matter.
  • Fans of Dystopian YA fiction will love this
4.5 Dewey's

I received this from Simon and Schuster at the OLA conference.


  1. It seemed almost as though Ms. DeStefano couldn't stand the sadness of the situation herself and softened the blow by pulling the full force of the punch. I can forgive her, however, because she caught me so off guard by something else a chapter later that I actually did cry.

    This is the best YA book I've read this year and in quite some time. Ms. DeStefano is excellent in her craft and I would follow her into whatever adventure she writes in the future.