1. Elephant Girl; Jane Devin 5 stars
Written in three distinct voices -- child, teen and adult -- Jane Devin takes readers on an intimate, imaginative and often harrowing life journey. Born unwanted and raised without love, the child-author invents a rich inner life to see her through years of trauma. Leaving home at 16, the teen-author struggles to find happiness and a sense of place in a world that feels confusing and unfamiliar. Then, years after stumbling into an adulthood mired in tragedy and broken dreams, the woman-author finds herself at a crossroads. The choice she ultimately makes is as stunning as it is brave.Told in unflinching and often lyrical prose, Elephant Girl goes beyond a singular life story to speak of powerful, universal truths and the ability of the human spirit to redeem itself.
While this book was incredibly sad and heartbreaking I never doubted that Jane would find a way to cope with whatever life decided to throw her way. Parts of this book made me want to scream and cry, but ultimately I kept reading to see just how far Jane was willing to go, just how much she could handle.
2. Birthmarked; Caragh M. O'Brien 4.5 stars
In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia’s mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia’s choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.
I really like this book because it is a fresh take on typical dystopias. While the environmental issues are horrific it doesn't go into detail about infertility or hemophilia in the enclave. The one thing that bothered me was that not a lot of detail was given about how the infertility developed, was it due to illness, environment or just luck of the draw? I wish the author had picked a reason or two to give more background.
3. Prized; Caragh M. O'Brien 5 stars
Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?
I liked this book a bit better than Birthmarked because the author gave a bit of reasoning for sylum's infertility. It seemed a bit more realistic when she explained that the different gases and plants in the environment could cause genetic anomalies and death from withdrawal I also liked how she touched on abortion being stigmatized, nice draw in to modern society.
4. Promised; Caragh M. O'Brien 4 stars
After defying the ruthless Enclave, surviving the wasteland, and upending the rigid matriarchy of Sylum, Gaia Stone now faces her biggest challenge ever. She must lead the people of Sylum back to the Enclave and persuade the Protectorat to grant them refuge from the wasteland. In Gaia's absence, the Enclave has grown more cruel, more desperate to experiment on mothers from outside the wall, and now the stakes of cooperating or rebelling have never been higher. Is Gaia ready, as a leader, to sacrifice what--or whom--she loves most?
This one was pretty decent, but what bother me the most that Gaia's ovaries were removed by force and all of the eggs fertilized immediately. Her choice to have kids of her own with Leon was taken away from her. Considering that the first two books focused on women choosing when and if they were having kids the situation with Gaia's ovaries was really disturbing.