Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Birthmarked: A 2010 Debut Author Challenge Review

Title: Birthmarked
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Pages: 368
 Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
My Edition: ARC Paperback
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian
Challenge Read For: 2010 Debut Author Challenge
Received From: Henry Holt InGroup

Summary from Caragh's website:
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents disappear.

As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she faces the brutal injustice of the Enclave and discovers she alone holds the key to a secret code, a code of “birthmarked” babies and genetic merit.

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where a criminal is defined by her genes, and one girl can make all the difference.

Wow, Birthmarked was such an amazing book! It had a totally unique, intriguing, dystopian story filled with adventure and action with a touch of romance. From the first page, I was immersed into the story and just had to keep reading. Never once bored while reading, every page just added to the intrigue of the book. It is truly a page turner that you wouldn't want to put down til you're finished.

I loved the main character Gaia because even though she is scarred and "ugly" on half of her face, she is a beautiful and strong girl. She went to great lengths to save her family and never once thought of giving up on them. I also loved Leon since he risks his own life to help Gaia and her family. It was really interesting to read about Gaia and her society in a weird time period set in about 300 years from now. Gaia is a midwife and every month she has a quota of three babies that have to be given to the Enclave. Her parents are then taken by the Enclave, and Gaia is left to wonder where they are and why they were taken. The book is about her story to find her parents and figure out what the Enclave wants from them.

I have never read anything like Birthmarked, and I really loved it. The ending was very dramatic and some events were very unexpected. It was a cliff-hanger that left me both happy and sad, so I hope there will be a sequel! This is Caragh's first book for teens, and she did an amazing job. It was well-written, and the characters and history were nicely developed. I loved the characters and the story she created, so I look forward to reading other books by her in the future.



  1. Great review! This sounds really intersting and I haven't heard of this before. I will be adding it to my TBR list!

  2. o gosh this sounds so great..Adding this. Thank you

  3. I'm so glad you reviewed this, because I've been crazy excited to read it for *ages*. I'm really glad to hear you liked it so much. Thanks for an intriguing review!

  4. I am so happy to see a positive review for a book I really want. The cliffhanger ending makes me really want to have the next book before even reading this one. I'm terrible with cliffhangers lol. I also seem to have a thing for characters with scars. Great review!


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