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Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

AUTHOR: Lauren DeStefano
SERIES: The Chemical Garden, book 1
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Children’s
PUBLICATION DATE: March 22, 2011
ISBN: 9781442409057
PAGES: 358
SOURCE: My library
GENRE: dystopia
OVERALL RATING: Highly recommended 
GIVE IT TO: anyone who loves an intricately-told story

SUMMARY: In a future America, a deadly virus causes men to die at age 25, women at age 20. To ensure survival, wealthy men can “buy” teen girls as brides. When 16-year old Rhine is kidnapped, sold, and forcibly married to a wealthy Florida landowner, she is determined escape to her luxurious prison and return to Manhattan to find her twin brother.

WHAT I LIKED: I LOVED, LOVED this book! This is DeStefano’s debut novel, and I look so forward to the next one. From the first few pages, I was sucked into the story immediately and stayed riveted right up to the very last page. The characters are unique and drawn so well, readers will feel like they know them. Even Rhine’s forced husband and captor Linden is likeable; I felt almost as sorry for him as I did for his three wives. 

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: I loved the entire book. This book rocks!


  • LANGUAGE:  mild; a light sprinkling of damns and GDs
  • SEXUALITY: medium; forced marriage with intercourse; a pregnant 13-year old “wife”; discussion of prostitution as a way of life for many girls
  • VIOLENCE: mild; mainly just some talk of body dissection in the basement (implied and never specifically described)
  • DRUGS/ ALCOHOL:teen “wives” drink wine at parties

FRONT COVER: GORGEOUS! The beautiful girl in a beautiful dress on the cover will make Wither an easy-sell in any library. 

SEQUEL: Fever (Expected publication date February, 2012)

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it, but I mainly talk it up with 8th grade girls (due to mature content)

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