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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title: Birthmarked
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
ISBN: 9781596435698
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Released: March 30, 2010
Series: Birthmarked Trilogy #1
Page #: 361
Source: My public library

"In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia's mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia's choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying."
First Lines:

"In the dim hovel, the mother clenched her body into one final, straining push, and the baby slithered out into Gaia's ready hands."
Page 1

I know I'm a little late on this bandwagon for this series, but how can you ignore a first line like that?! Seriously, it only gets more dramatic from there. And it's soooo worth it.

Gaia is a midwife at sixteen. She lives outside the wall of the Enclave - and her life is worse for it. Things are difficult, and she is required to turn over three babies a month to the Enclave. After her parents are arrested, she leaves it all to save them. But she finds out that the Enclave isn't all she had expected. Things weren't as easy as she thought - and she meets lots of people that help her along the way.

So, I really loved this story. I got really sucked in after the world was built for me. It's set in a futuristic time - after we've all ruined the earth - but I constantly forgot that it wasn't historical. Life sounds a lot like it was in ancient times, but then computers and cameras are thrown in. A few times, it caught me off guard. But it's easy to imagine how many steps back we would have to take if the earth started being uncooperative.

When I finished this book, I read a little bit about the author and saw that she is an English teacher. That really made a few things click for me. There are some perfect elements for discussion with classes - the color imagery, the vocabulary, the relationships with adults, and more. I can totally see a teacher picking up this book for use in a classroom. One of the things I really liked was the different colors that were used for the classes in the society. It creates wonderful imagery - a crowd mixed together, but knowing each one belongs to a different group.

Honestly, this book has just about everything - adventure, lurve, mystery, dystopian society, etc. It makes for a wonderful story and now I'm completely hooked. I absolutely HAVE to find out what happened! I've already requested the second book at my library and I'm waiting anxiously. This story will suck you in and totally leave you hanging.

The whole birthmark thing is very interesting to me. I love that Gaia's mother marked every baby she delivered and sent into the Enclave. It pulls those people together, but also makes those people targets in the society. There are several codes and cyphers in this story as well. Those really intrigued me and I found myself trying to decipher them on my own. It's a really cool element in this story.

I 100% recommend this book. There is so much that this book offers and I know it will find many readers. I'm sure it already has... I'm just a little late on this one :). I will probably be reviewing this second book as soon as I get my hands on it. So stay tuned and go find the first one! You won't regret it.
Other Blog Reviews:

The Bawdy Book Blog
The Teen Bookworm
Bittersweet Enchantment
Curled Up With Books
YA Litwit
The Book Belles
Carina's Books
Owl Read It
What Makes YA Beautiful

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