Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

(The Chemical Garden #1)
By: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: March 22, 2011
Genre: YA Sci-Fi

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Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive.



I was a little skeptical going into this. I read the reviews and people either loved this book or hated it. Thankfully I was the latter. I didn’t absolutely love the book but I found it enthralling and it had me in a trance until the end.

First off, the whole dying at the ages of 20 (females) and 25 (males) is just scary. Not to mention the beginning scene where the girls are in a dark van confused and scared out of their minds to be dragged outside have a guy choose 3 of them and have the other ones shot and killed is just horrifying. Then to find out that you are to be married to that man and are expected to have children with him?! I loved how Rhine kept her wits about her and stayed unattached throughout the entire thing. Of course she got confused a few times and felt sorry for Linden with how sheltered he was but she never once gave in like her other sister wives.

I was a little creeped out that Linden was shacking up with Cicily who was just 13. I wasn’t a huge fan of the whole kidnapping girls to marry them off but later in the book Rhine realized that Linden thinks that she was raised in an orphanage and was brought up to be a sister wife. So with that mentality, okay I guess so, but 13 really? I don’t know about that, I have a niece who is going to be 12 in a couple of months and I could not view her that way at all. She still watches the Disney Channel for Pete’s sake!

Another issue I had with the book was the world building outside of the mansion. You know there is a virus but they don’t go into too much detail nor do they go into details about what life is like outside. You see a little bit of what Rhine’s life was like hiding away in their family’s basement with her twin brother and literally fighting people off for their lives 24/7. Which brings me to question, what on earth is so wrong about being taken to a mansion with a guy who cares for you and to live out the remaining few years of your life comfortably. I get that she misses her brother and worries for him but you could tell that she started to care for Linden. However, she resisted him and kept dreaming of running away to find her brother. Who again was probably still in the basement that was boarded up, holding a shot gun waiting for the next wanderer to break in. I just don’t see the appeal in that sort of life.

Linden comes into her room in the middle of the night and crawls into bed with her and says to her “Please don’t go. Please don’t run away from me.”
I don’t know why but this scene for me made me see Linden in a new light. He is so naive when it comes to everything outside of his mansion.


2 Thoughts on “Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

  1. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, but I was definitely fascinated by it. And I agree the whole thing with Cicily is creepy. Great review!

  2. Wow! Sounds like an interesting book! I will be adding it to my must read list! Thanks

    Miranda ~

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