Wither by Lauren DeStefano 


Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)
by Lauren DeStefano
Pages: 358
Sixteen year-old Rhine Ellery finds herself prisoner in a sprawling Florida mansion. She is set to become the bride of 20 year-old Linden, the wealthy owner of the estate. In Rhine’s time, all but North America has been destroyed, and the world looks very different than it does today. The first generation’s work with genetic embryo modification caused a devastating virus to afflict the entire younger population. All women die at age 20 and men at age 25. With the high female to male ratio, young men are taking multiple wives and are kidnapping and murdering to ensure that their DNA is passed on. With the help of her sister wives and a few of the house servants, Rhine plans her escape back to her twin brother Rowan in New York. Can she stay strong despite everything that could hold her back?
DeStefano has created an eerily realistic dystopian world that will cause readers to question their own beliefs about genetics and human modification. Rhine is a complex character who readers will easily find themselves connecting with. The supporting characters are an interesting array, from the helpless teen sister wife to the overbearing villainous father-in-law. Wither deals with extremely heavy issues and not always in a pretty way. This is a raw, visceral tale of survival. At the same time, readers are tugged in by the relationship between Rhine and the mansion’s other occupants. DeStefano’s didn’t sugarcoat her story of loss and strength which made it the perfect mixture of beautiful and tragic.
I’ve heard so many great things about Wither and I’ve had it on my shelf for months. Why did I wait so long to read this?