Monday, January 31, 2011

High School Pick: Wither

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)
Wither (Book One, The Chemical Garden Trilogy)
by Lauren Destefano
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011
368 pages

Available March 22, 2011

Wither is a creepy, yet mesmerizing, debut novel that is sure to have readers chomping at the bit to get their hands on books two and three of the trilogy. This is a heart-thumping, page turner of a novel--unputdownable.

In the distant future, genetic engineering is able to obliterate all diseases and illnesses, but something has gone wrong. Males live to the ripe young age of twenty-five; for females--it's just twenty.

Geneticists and scientists are working around the clock to try to save the children, and some scientists are even secretly experimenting on "subjects"--hoping to find the cure but unethically using ill children--causing their deaths. It is in this shocking world gone wrong, that girls like Rhine are taken.

Rhine is kidnapped by Gatherers--men in dark coats who kidnap young girls to sell to the highest bidder. The lucky girls are sold to wealthy men who have many wives in the hopes of many offspring who may live to adulthood. The unlucky ones are sold into prostitution or killed and dumped.

Rhine is one of the "lucky" girls--taken from her home in New York City to a huge mansion in Florida. There she becomes a "sister" wife to two other girls who were kidnapped like her. Rose--who is nineteen and dying--is the first wife of Linden, son of the master of the mansion. The three new girls will be her replacements.

Nothing in this future world is "real"--the fireplaces are holograms, the scenery, the board games--all are false images. Rhine is eager to escape--she wants to go home, back to New York and her twin brother Rowen, who must be going crazy searching for her. Rhine soon learns to be a skilled actress, acting like she loves Linden--waiting for her chance to escape. When she enlists the aide of Gabriel, a servant, they are both in danger.

Readers who enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy and The Forest of Hands and Teeth will probably love this novel.

Highly, highly recommended for high school collections. Mature situations. No language.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


  1. Would it be appropriate for mature 8th grade students?

  2. I cannot keep any of the "Hunger Games" series on my shelves so I am dying to get something new to share with the students! Thanks for the opportunity.
    Connie Spurlock
    Wm. H. Harrison High School
    9860 West Rd,
    Harrison, OH 45030

  3. I have a large cadre of readers who this would appeal to - our Dystopian Lit instructor is also always looking for potential additions to her curriculum.
    Anna Sheeley
    1916 E. Hwy 34
    Plattsmouth, NE 68048

  4. This book would be appropriate for mature 8th graders: one caution, some girls who are stolen are forced into prostitution, but it's only mentioned once. Also, sixteen year old girls are being married to basically have children--a shocking fact today, but not a couple of generations ago! :) hope that helps you decide whether you can add it to your library. Pamela

  5. I'm sure my teens would love this book. I'm always looking for dystopian titles to keep up with the demand.
    Brenda Stafford
    Deep Creek High School
    2900 Margaret Booker Drive
    Chesapeake, VA 23323