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Author: DeStefano, Lauren
After humans are turned into genetic time bombs with men dying at twenty-five and women dying at twenty, girls are forcibly married off to repopulate the world.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 143644
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 6.30
Points: 21.0 Quiz: 51751
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (02/01/11)
School Library Journal (04/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2011 When scientists engineered genetically perfect children, everyone thought it would ensure the future of the human race. Though the first generation is nearly immortal, a virus causes all successive generations to die early: age 20 for women, 25 for men. Now, girls are kidnapped for brothels or polygamous marriages to breed children. Rhine is taken from her hardscrabble life and sold with two other girls to Linden Ashby. Though they live in a palatial Florida home surrounded by gardens and treated like royalty, the girls are sequestered from the outside world, and Rhine longs to escape. Her growing affection for her sister wives, her pity for Linden, and her fear of Housemaster Vaughn, Linden’s manipulative father, keep her uncomfortably docile—until she falls for servant Gabriel. This character-driven dystopia, more thoughtful than thrilling, sets up an arresting premise that succeeds because of Rhine’s poignant, conflicted narrative and DeStefano’s evocative prose. Many will appreciate the intense character drama; however, the world building is underdeveloped, with holes in internal logic.Still, this first title in the Chemical Garden Trilogy will surely be popular. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2011 Rhine was born into a world where science perfected healthy children, eliminating all disease, with the unintended consequence that, in all generations since that first indestructible one, all men die at age twenty-five and all women die at twenty. As society falls apart, it becomes common for girls to be kidnapped and sold into marriage-it keeps the species alive, after all-and that’s what happens to Rhine, a relatively ancient sixteen. Chosen by weak, sweet, oblivious Linden along with two “sister wives”-younger orphan Cecily, thrilled at her new status, and older Jenna, bitter and despairing-Rhine soon recognizes that it is Linden’s sinister father, whose medical experiments may hold the key to a cure, who has complete power over her life. DeStefano compellingly explores the psychological toll of having to look death in the face while still in the throes of adolescence. She effectively balances the character’s immediate challenge-imprisonment-with its long-term issue-curtailed life span-doling out just enough information to set the stage for the series arc without compromising the urgency of the current plotlines. While Rhine’s attraction to Gabriel, a servant in the house, provides the expected romantic impetus, and her growing emotional attachment to Linden is tenderly and creepily drawn, it’s the fascinatingly complex relationships among the three wives that truly animate the book and give it its poignancy. Fans of Collins’ Hunger Games (BCCB 11/08) trilogy will appreciate this debut novel’s juxtaposition of lavish luxury (the dresses, the illusions, the estate) and brutal social control, ruthless survival struggles, and empathetic alliances. CG - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2011 Gr 9 Up—In the near future, genetic engineering has given a single generation freedom from all physical ills and a long life, but something claims the lives of successive generations as women reach 20 and men reach 25. Many of the first generation and their offspring are fabulously wealthy, but the rest of the population struggles for a living. Rhine Ellery is 16 when she is kidnapped from Manhattan and selected as a bride for Linden Ashby, along with 18-year-old Jenna and 13-year-old Cecily. Jenna seems to be resigned to her existence and naive Cecily is delighted by her situation, but Rhine is determined to escape from her "husband" and his mansion in Florida to return north to her twin brother, Rowan. She finds an ally and love interest in Gabriel, a servant who is as much a prisoner as Rhine. Linden's father, Vaughn, is the true power in the house, controlling his son through disinformation and the "brides" through fear and lies. Vaughn conducts research in the mansion's basement, searching for a cure, but Rhine and Jenna suspect something sinister behind his supposed altruism. As time goes by, Rhine begins to soften toward Linden, who proves to be gentle and artistic, but her determination to escape never wavers. She proves herself to be a heroine who faces her situation with spirit and cleverness. The trapped bride and mysterious husband are straight out of Gothic romances. By stirring in elements of sheer creepiness with dystopia and the hot topic of polygamy, DeStafano creates a story that should have broad appeal.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.