Book Review: Wither by: Lauren DeStefano


Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

Publish Date:
March 22, 2011



Order From: 
Amazon / Barnes & Noble

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a ticking genetic time bomb - males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape - to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left. 

Review: Ms. DeStefano has written a creepy, mesmerizing, and all too possible vision of the future. Wither is told from the perspective of Rhine, a girl who is kidnapped from her home city and taken far away to be a wife for someone she’s never met to perpetuate humanity. The concept that tinkering too much with our genetic makeup – making designer babies – can cause unknown and damaging effects in future generations is something to seriously think about. Considering that now males die at the age of twenty-five and females at age twenty brings a new level of poignancy to living every day to its fullest.

Rhine is a strong female lead who holds no romantic ideas about how her forced marriage will end. She brings an interesting contrast to her ‘sister-wives’. I enjoyed the cast of characters and the level of detail Ms. DeStefano created in the world which Wither is set. Her words paint a vivid and stark beauty in the dark and dismally short lives of Rhine and her generation.

I lost myself in the story, a testament to the flawless writing and deft weaving of science, romance, horror, and dystopian future. I’m not a huge fan of dystopian novels, but Ms. DeStefano has convinced me! 

The Chemical Garden series: Wither (1), Fever (2), "untitled" (3)


  1. This is such a popular book now that I was sure it was just a silly reading, but your synopsis really got me! :) Obviously, the males can live longer, huh? >.>' (sigh)

  2. I really enjoyed this book too and read it in one sitting.


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