Louisa May Alcott may as well have been writing about me when she wrote "She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain!" But I am a staunch believer that there is no such thing.
I really struggled with whether to give this one a 4 or a 5 – so I settled for 4.5 (which rounds to a 5). The writing was amazing, the character development was incredible, and the plot was freshly original. Yet, I found myself able to set it down for long periods of time before I picked it up again (to be clear – “long periods of time” for me = an hour or two). By the end, I was very emotionally invested in Rhine, Gabriel, Linden, and even Cecily and her baby Bowen.
Lauren DeStefano’s mind must be a pretty incredible place. Dystopian novels are clearly the latest fad in YA, yet hers stands apart from the others, not even trying to be like every other book out there. There is, of course, the requisite love triangle (and let me stop for just a moment and say that I think Rhine absolutely should have told Linden the truth about everything that was going on). But while the dystopian nature of this society is certainly a large plot point, it’s the characters and relationships that they build with one another that drive the book. And to me, that’s a huge plus.
Wither certainly has a dark side. There’s death. And a lot of it. There’s deception and murder and threats. Kidnapping. Brute force. But Rhine always has hope, and it effects every person she comes into contact with. Rhine is the kind of person that little girls want to be like when they grow up (not circumstantially of course).
Bottom line? If you want a fresh take on a Dystopian society in a beautifully written book, pick up Wither.