Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 22, 2011
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Also by this author: Perfect Ruin, Burning Kingdoms, The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.
I had major issues with the dystopian situation this book found itself in. The virus and evolution of everything seemed too far-fetched for me. The more YA books I read, the more I’m finding that there are books out there labeled as YA that young adults should not be reading because of the topics… this book being one of them.
Girls hide inside their houses at night scared of being kidnapped by ‘Guardians’ and sold into prostitution or sold as child brides to men who can afford them. The opening scene was a group of girls that had been kidnapped, three were ‘approved’, the rest were shot. The approved child brides are taken to the mansion of their future husband where they are promptly married to 21-year old Linden. One of the brides is only 13 years old. Sure this happens and sure this is real; however, there are some topics that just shouldn’t be glamorized and geared towards young adults.
I didn’t think it would be possible, yet I did manage to finish it. I can understand the story, I understand that these kind of things do happen in this world… but it was one of the worst books I’ve ever read.