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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Publication Date: 3-30-2010
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Goodreads Summary:
IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.
Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.

This was a much anticipated novel for me.  I heard so many good things about it, and being in love with the dystopian genre certainly helped the hype.  I was finally able to get my hands on a copy and I don't even know how to begin to describe the emotions I felt reading this novel.

O'Brien made me feel anger, sadness, happiness, and everything in between.  Gaia is living in a world in which the Enclave rules.  As a midwife, like her mother, she must deliver 3 infants a month to the Enclave gates.  The community outside the gates is subject to providing children to those inside, yet they aren't allowed to go inside themselves.  They never see these children again.  Gaia's parents are taken away into the Enclave, and Gaia isn't sure why.  She decides to make her own way into the Enclave to help her parents and find out what is really going on.

She sees so many surprises inside those walls.  The people she trusted to care for them are not caring for them at all.  The ideas she had of the Enclave are greatly obscured.  Gaia's life is full of adventure once she is inside those walls.  She is fighting for her life and the life of her parents.  She is fighting for the lives of those outside the walls as well.  Gaia has a lot riding on her, and goes through experiences I couldn't imagine.  She has so much hope and strength.  She is more mature than any 16 year old that I know, and has a head full of knowledge on her shoulders.  Gaia is choosing what is best for her and those around her when she fights for life.  

I couldn't put this novel down.  Gaia is such an amazing heroine and a great character.  We learn more about her throughout the book and find out about how strong and hopeful she is.  We see the 16 year old side of her as well.  Gaia shows us the life she has lived and the cruelness others have shown her growing up.  Her family secrets are revealed and she needs to decide how to deal with them.  O'Brien writes in a way that keeps you guessing.  You never know what is going to happen to Gaia and what she will decide.  There might even be a romance brewing for this young girl.

The ending kept me on edge and I can't wait to read book 2, Prized.  This trilogy has proven itself in book one and I'm hoping that book two is just as good, if not even better!  Gaia Stone has a lot to show us in her world, and I can't wait to see how this life begins.

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