Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone is a midwife. Every month, she helps her mother deliver babies. Three babies per month must be given to live within the walls. Then, one day, after Gaia delivers her first baby by herself, the Enclave takes both of her parents. Gaia and her family has always done what the Enclave has asked, so what could the Enclave possibly want with her parents? Before long, Gaia begins to question if the Enclave deserves her full loyalty. One thing is for sure, Gaia must find her parents!
Caragh M. O'Brien's Birthmarked is a wonderful example of great dystopian fiction. One of my favorite things about this novel was the protagonist, Gaia, who reminds me of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Gaia's spunky, clever, and easy to relate to. Like Gaia, I think all teenagers are just looking for some answers. Another thing I enjoyed about this novel was the use of codes. Without giving any spoilers, I thought O'Brien's code was really clever. The use of codes was made even more clever when readers learn of the importance of genetics in the novel. (Get it, genetic codes?) :P
Out of all the novels I've read, this one has one of the most intriguing opening chapters. O'Brien starts Birthmarked with a birth scene. The scene will effectively reel readers in, and it also gives them a feel of the rest of the novel. The press release that came with this novel called it a cross between A Handmaid's Tale and The Hunger Games. Seeing as I've never read A Handmaid's Tale, I cannot tell you if that part is accurate. I do, however, believe The Hunger Games comparison is accurate, as I mentioned earlier with the similar protagonists.
Overall, Birthmarked is a great dystopian novel that should not be missed.
Caragh M. O'Brien's Site
Roaring Brook Press
I received this book from Holt's InGroup program.