Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien, 362 pages

Continuing in my tour of dystopian YA fiction, Birthmarked tells the tale of Gaia, a 16-year-old girl who has been trained by her mother to be a midwife. Gaia and her mother deliver all the babies in their section of Wharftown, the slums surrounding the walled, prestigious Enclave, where the streets are paved with gold (not really) and nobody goes without anything they could want or need (yes, really). But the Enclave needs Wharftown for an odd purpose: to provide a monthly quota of babies to diversify the Enclave's genetic pool. As in most YA dystopias, Gaia begins revealing the cracks in the structured, seemingly perfect Enclave after her parents are arrested and Gaia herself goes on the lam.

I enjoyed this book for the way that it brings up reproductive rights in a new light; I honestly didn't expect that from a YA book. This is the first of a trilogy (it's a YA book; of course its a trilogy!), and I'm curious to see what happens to Gaia in her attempts to undermine the Enclave in the next two.

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