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Wither (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world.

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Wither (Chemical Garden Series #1)

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After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606236836
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 12/6/2011
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 613 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 615 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    This book is the BOMB DIGGITY! For real. It totally exceeded my expectations and left me with wanting more. Not only was this book one unique read, it totally captured every part of me as I read it. I held my breathe as my eyes raced across the pages reading every emotion, every secret, every betrayal.

    For Rhine everything is fake. She is forced to be a bride to a man she has never met or know. Forced to lived in a nice prison with other sisters wives. Though her time is short, she will not live this way. She longs for her freedom and just wants to be home safe. With danger lurking around every corner, Rhine learns everything and anything, plays the role she needs to play in order to get out.

    This book is just WOW. It blew me away. Literally. I was so engrossed in the book, so connected with Rhine that I felt her angry, her pain, her longing for freedom. She was so strong. How she manages not to fall apart completely is beyond me. Poor thing had to just keep picking herself up and keep going. Rhine played her role so good, at times I thought that maybe she was giving in. That she would comply and just live the life she was given. But no, she always came back to remind herself of what is really at stake. Gabriel was nice touch to the book. He let Rhine true self come out and I loved learning about her through him.

    I don't want to give to much away, but man this book is just unexplainable. You just have to read it in order to understand what I am trying to say. Ms. DeStefano, your book is complete and total awesomeness. It is the best book of 2011. Ms. DeStefano did what books are supposed to do. Take you away for an adventure of a lifetime. And this adventure, is one that I will never forget.

    37 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    As fun as a book about death and dying can be!

    In the not too distant future, women are dying at the age of 20 and males by the age of 25. Only the First Generation can outlive them, and although many have tried to come up with an antidote for the virus that takes their young, so one has been successful. In an effort to save the human race, young girls are abducted and forced to be sister wives who share one husband. Their goal? To produce as many children as possible before dying. After her parents are killed in a lab explosion, sixteen-year-old Rhine is abducted and forced to marry Governor Linden, who is twenty-years-old and approaching his twilight years. Rhine is a beauty with very unusual eyes. It's because of her eyes, and her likeness to another girl named Rose, that she is chosen as a bride. However, when she arrives at the house she realizes that she is only one of three new wives and that a fourth is on her deathbed. Although Governor Linden is actually quite likable, his father, Housemaster Vaughn is anything but! His presence in the house makes Rhine very uncomfortable and when one of her sister wives has a baby, Rhine becomes concerned over what is being done to the baby. Add to that her attraction to a handsome attendant by the name of Gabriel and Rhine finds herself conflicted over what she needs to do. Polygamy is a loaded topic and DeStefano tackles it successfully. At times, the idea of young, pregnant brides is disturbing, but with the human race dying out as it is, somehow the idea isn't so bad. The topic is handled delicately and there is nothing overly graphic or violent contained within these pages. I'd say that the target age range of 14+ is accurate. From an adult perspective, I found the book utterly readable and fun. There's the whole class struggle thing going on, as well as the conflict that being a sister-wife creates. It was a quick read, and the pages flew by and at the end I found myself looking forward to book #2. If you like to delve into YA now and then and like dystopian fiction but not necessarily the violence, then this might be a good book for you.

    26 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2011

    Intriguing and a thriller!

    It was cool how DeStefano created society to be "messed up" where girls and boys only live to a certain age, and some girls are taken. After reading the overview, I knew I had to get this book, and I wasn't disappointed! Unlike so many teen books, Wither is unique and unpredictable, containing no super natural characters..hallejuah! I recommend this novel, and I'm hoping for a sequel, and if there is one I know I will love it:)

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended!

    I'll be honest . I'm not a big fan of dystopian books. There are exceptions of course but as a whole, they're not part of my preferred reading lists. Saying that, I will go ahead and say that Wither is already pretty high up on that list of exceptions.

    This story literally had me by the heartstrings from the very beginning and didn't let me go until the very bitter end. Now, I want to know more. There are so many questions that I have that I am assuming at this point in time will be answered in the upcoming books of the trilogy, so I'm not holding any marks against it until then.

    There were different stories weaved into the novel so intricately that none ever seemed out of place or misguiding in any way. Rhine is not only telling her story in the present as a sister wife, but you also get glimpses of her past as she tries so desperately to hold onto her memories of where she came from so she can keep her goal in mind - which is always to get back to her twin brother. Then there's the part of Rhine who is trying to win the favor of her husband, House Governor Linden, so she can gain more freedoms to help in her plan of escape. I must say that I hold a soft spot in my heart for Linden. He seems so innocent and sweet that, at times, I was like Rhine who was won over and thought on occasion that her life now wasn't so bad if she ran out of time and died. Gabriel, I like but I'd also like to know more about him. We know he's sweet and has feelings for Rhine, but he's not given enough "screen time" for my liking, which I hope will change in the upcoming books. The sister wives were also a good addition to the story. I love the friendship that bloomed between Jenna and Rhine throughout the novel. Jenna is that girl that you definitely want on your side, and the girl who I'd say you'd want because she's a fierce friend in her own ways. Cecily... is an iffy for me. I love that she developed and matured in the story. However, it really disturbed me how willing she was to be the perfect wife . at only thirteen. What she goes through at her age still nags at me, and leaves me feeling a little sick. Like I said, she matured through her experiences and I admire her choice at the end of the book - but I can't say she stole my heart like the other characters, though I'm prone to say it has a lot to do with her age and maturity level as well.

    Dystopian novels some times disturb me. This one was the same way. I'm 27 and I feel like I've barely experienced life. Here, in this world in the novel, girls die at 20 and boys at 25. I couldn't imagine being born into that world and really not having the chance to live. With that being said, Lauren Destefano did an incredible job at building her world and her characters. Although most of this novel is set in the house that was made to be Rhine's home, there's too many things going on for it to ever drift into a boring story. There's always something going on and, during the parts that may lull, there are stories of Rhine's past to fill in that void.

    I devoured this book in one sitting. While the ending seemed pretty perfect for the novel, it definitely leaves a lot of questions to be answered. But like I said, I'm sure those will be answered in the future books. It doesn't take away from this novel at all and I was satisfied with how this one wrapped up. I'm looking forward to the upcoming novels in the series.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

    Just ok

    It was an "ok" easy read. However, there is nothing about these characters that will drag me into another of these books. I will admit to being a bit disappointed after all of the glowing reviews I read prior to the purchase.

    9 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely riveting!

    The plot: Wither is set in the future, in a world that somehow seems both futuristic and primitive at the same time. War has literally changed the world as we, the reader, know it. Modern science and technology have changed humanity, illusions and holograms having replaced reality and the humanity of relationships. The desperation that society feels is evident in the way it has changed and the lines between what is right and what is wrong have been thoroughly blurred. Although an set in an alternate reality, there was a very clear parallel between that world and our own. The alternate reality was fully believable as a real possibility for our future which made the entire story that much more intriguing.

    The writing: I thought the writing of this debut novel from a young author was exquisite. I was immediately drawn into the story and into the lives of the characters. The author excels at drawing out emotion from the reader and blends the surreal and reality seamlessly. The very first paragraph set the tone for the rest of the novel:

    "I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids. We sleep huddled together like rats, staring out, and dream of our bodies swaying."

    The characters: I love characters that I can fall in love with, root for, feel for, become involved with. The characters in Wither didn't disappoint. I liked the fact that no one character was pure, whether purely good or purely bad. The fact that the good and the bad, the selflessness and the selfishness, was a part of each character further demonstrated the theme that humanity had changed people. In different circumstances, maybe these people would have been different, but the reality of their world as they knew it changed how they thought, how they behaved. This made the characters far more relatable in the setting of the story.

    Emotional significance: I was drawn into the story from the moment I began reading. I didn't want to put it down once I started. I absolutely love a novel that calls you to it and makes you want more when you finish it. I love a novel that makes you feel all the things the characters are feeling and makes you care about those characters as if they were real. This novel did that for me!

    The conclusion: The ending of the novel didn't answer all the questions or tie up all the loose ends, but it wasn't supposed to. It gave enough to satisy, but left the way clear for the next book. I truly did not want the book to end and it saddens me that this, the first of three, isn't due out until the end of March. Why? Because that means it is going to be even longer until the next one comes out! Cover art: I know that you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover and I really don't, but sometimes a cover is so striking that it really hits me. Not only is the cover art of this book stunning, I love the fact that the image of the girl matches a scene within the book. Too many times, the covers seem to be unrelated to the story inside, but this one was perfect. I also loved the symbolism of the caged bird, a detail I didn't truly appreciate until I got farther into the story.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    I Tried to Care

    Interesting story line - thinly developed. Flat writing. Uninspiring characters. Nice cover. The end.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2012


    I'm not so sure what the author was thinking when she wrote this. The plot is nice, a post-apocalypse North America, a teen fighting for survival, family, and love.

    The new generation only lasts so long, so they either are fighting to live or pampered in a luxurious mansion. The young men who are rich enough buy brides - teenagers.

    The main character is one of those purchased slaves, along with two other girls, one only thirteen years old. Married. A little sketchy. Not for middle school kids.

    Overall, it's written nicely with enough suspense and character development, but not one I would buy. Or like. Or recommend.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Very exciting! You should READ IT!

    This is an awesome book that I really enjoyed. I really wished that I didn't have to put it down. I think Lauren Destefano has been added to my authors list. Definitely can't wait for the next two!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I could not stop reading.

    I was a little weirded out by the overview of Wither but also very curious so I bought Wither for my nook. I read the whole book within two days. I could not stop reading and since I was sick and could not do much else but sit in bed I flew through the book. I love Jenna and Rhine,their bond is so beautiful they become like real sisters not just sister wives. I also liked Linded he really was kind to the girls and truly did love Rhine. I can't wait for the next book. I can't find the realse date sadly.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    One of my absolute favorites of the year!

    I had heard a lot about this book from other bloggers and when I got the opportunity to snatch it up I couldn't resist. It was not at all what expected and I am happy about that. It was so much more!

    The story takes place in the future where all females die at 20 and males at 25. Due to the short life span, and hope to find an antidote, the need for procreation is extremely high. In order to find women to make as brides men hire Gatherers to search for women they can marry. The Gatherers take the women against their will and they are forced to marry. Some of these girls can be taken as young as 13 years old. Most men have multiple wives giving them the chance for multiple children and thus society has a chance to live on and hopefully find a cure.

    We see the world through the eyes of Rhine, a 16 year old that is kidnapped to become a wife. She, along with 2 other sister wives have to learn to adapt to this new life. All 3 of them handle their situation with completely different mannerisms. They all go from one extreme to the next as far as how they feel about the situation that they find themselves in. Rhine is so eager to escape and get home to her twin brother who has no idea what has become of her.

    I don't think I have ever really felt so much for the characters. They were so well written. DeStefano makes you feel their heartache and their sadness. The story is both disturbing and completely fascinating. It was scary to think that this was a world they were living in. It captured my attention from beginning to the end. I was always wondering what would happen next and I was fearful for the well being of each of the characters. It was full of heartache and sadness, but there are sweet, hopeful moments as well.

    I was incredibly happy to find out that this was going to be a trilogy. I can't wait to find out what's in store in the next 2 books. This was all around fantastic read and I highly recommend it!

    I think the cover also deserves mentioning. How fantastic is it? I think it is absolutely beautiful!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    DeStefano delivers an awesome story!

    **I received this book free from the publisher.**
    Lauren DeStefano may have just become one of my favorite authors. She introduces the reader to a horrifyingly dark, dismal, and BELIEVABLE world from page 1 and continues to deliver throughout the novel. Rhine, the female protagonist, is a brutally real, honest, and deep character who is likely to appeal to most readers - or at least readers who like a woman with a brain in her head.

    The world is Earth, though not at we know it, and supposedly the only remaining continent is North America. Everywhere else is supposed decimated, though there are hints throughout the book that this may just be what the general population believes to be true, and is in fact NOT entirely accurate. Ms. DeStefano's characters, from the chef in the kitchen of the home in which Rhine lives to Rhine herself are all intricately woven into the story in such a way that they just -feel- real. Even Rowan, who we never actually meet, feels like he's got depth and substance.

    I absolutely love the level of detail that the author worked into her story - there was plenty to really paint a vivid picture of what is happening and where it is happening, but enough was left to the imagination so that each reader can color it with his or her own individual interpretation.

    It may sound cheesy and a trifle cliche, but I'd call this little dystopian beauty SPLENDID and absolutely delightful. I cannot wait for number two in the Chemical Gardens trilogy. (Would it be too corny to say that I may wither away while waiting? Ooo look at that alliteration, too!)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012


    This book is so good i could not put it down! This book is a must read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    Strange book

    Wither is definitely one of the strangest books i've read. It was extremely thought-provoking because it made you wonder what would happen to society if everyone died in their twenties. However, the whole polygamous marriage concept was a little to weird for me. The book definitely gets weirder towards the end. Especially the part in the middle with Cicilia...

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012


    I know people on here saying there is adult stuff in the book and there is, but im 14 and found it amazing and something i could not put down. It really is a really good book to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Young Readers Beware

    One of my goals for 2012 is to expand my reading range. With the exception of the Hunger Games, I haven't read any dystopian and honestly, it's a bit depressing to me. I've said it many times before...I read to escape reality and well, dystopian storylines don't always provide the most luxuriousness of I usually leave these for my last choices.

    The first thing I noticed when I began Wither was Ms. DeStefano's prose. Her descriptions evoke images and feelings that bubble to the surface...both beautiful and frightening. Written in first person, from Rhine's point of view, the emotions seeped into my subconscious. Her fear, longing, and kindness made her stand out among her sister-wives. The one thing I didn't ever get from Rhine was her supposed hatred of Linden or his father. I know she learned to like Linden but Housemaster Vaughn remained a royal pain in the butt throughout the book.

    Rhine is kidnapped and chosen to be one of three new wives to Governor Linden. When girls die at the age of 20 and boys die at 25...getting married and having children young is the only way to continue the human race. Rhine is 16, Cecily 14, and Jenna 18 at the age of the gathering. Rhine quickly becomes friends with Linden's "real" wife, Rose...who's on her death bead. Rose sees something special in her and knows Rhine will become Linden's favorite once she passes.

    Rhine does become the "first wife"--a term describing the wife that accompanies her husband to social events and gatherings. Jenna has no desire to become this wife and Cecily quickly becomes pregnant and prefers to be domestic. Linden treats Rhine with the utmost respect and never forces himself on her. He truly loves her...but that's not enough for Rhine. She wants to get back to her twin brother and return to her old life. Her plans are known throughout the house and place others in danger.

    If she escapes...others will pay. I liked Wither but several things bothered me about the book.

    1) The content is not meant for young readers...I would venture to say this is much more of an adult read at best. The sexual occurrences are not vivid but the circumstances in which they revolved around were worrisome. I would venture to say those younger than 17 or 18 should probably discuss this book with their parents.

    2) Bigamy bothers me...especially when it involves an adult male (20) and young girls (14 & 16 plus another who's 18). To make this type of relationship seem okay just isn't all right with me.

    3) There is a whole chapter about breast milk and wet nurses and so forth. There were many descriptions of breast milk leaking through Cecily's shirt when she hears Bowen cry and I understand that this was meant to show the reader that Cecily missed being allowed to feed Bowen...I'm just not sure how many teenagers will get that analogy.

    I've heard great things about Fever and will definitely be picking it up. If you chose to read Wither, be prepared for adult content.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2011

    Totally inappropriate

    Most inappropriate book I have ever read, not like I actually allowed myself to finish it.

    2 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    Stop what you're doing and go and buy this book! I was completely blown away by this book. This novel had me hooked in the first few pages. Wither definitely falls under the category of "want to neglect everything just so I could read". This is a dystopian novel centered around a sixteen year old girl named Rhine. Rhine has grown up in a world where the average life span for a girl is 20 years and for a boy 25 years. When they reach this predetermined age, they develop a horrible virus that slowly kills them. Nobody knows what causes the virus and nobody knows how to cure it. The virus leaves destruction in it's wake. There are hundreds of thousands of orphans, girls are forced into prostitution or they are kidnapped to become wives to bear children. In the beginning of the story Rhine is kidnapped by a gather to become a wife. She wakes up to find herself in a gorgeous house. She has everything she could possible want except her freedom. Rhine realized early that to escape she'll have to play along, bide her time and wait for the perfect opportunity. I think the views of this society are represented well in the characters of this book. Cecily is a sister-wife who is under the illusion of that everything will work out. She is naive in many ways and is happy to be a wife. Jenna is under no illusion, she has surrendered to her fate. She is determined if she's going to die, it might as well be in style. Rhine is like a caged bird longing to be free. I really enjoyed all the characters in Wither. I love the way DeStefano slowly unraveled their past so that we could understand the characters more. The story line is compelling and mesmerizing, from the first to the last page. The world that DeStefano creates is very intriguing and mysterious. It's bleak at times and very moving at others. After I finished this book I immediately wanted to know when the next one is going to come out. There's no word yet but I'll keep you posted. Overall I love, love, love this book and strongly recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Why read.

    This books is well written but the story line is not that good. I usually really enjoy dystopia novels but this one is loaded with holes. One of the biggest problems I had was the novel takes place in Manhattan and Florida and then the author talks about the polar ice caps having melted and I am thinking why aren't they under water. This is just one of the many statements in the book that makes no sense at all. I was really disturbed by the subject of polygamy being covered in YA novel.

    2 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013


    Everyone seems to adore this book. I honestly thought it was boring, mildly disturbing and just all around okay.
    The main character is infuritingly weak. She has no personality, no substantial voice, and no desire to take control of her horrible situation. The lead male character is much the same with the addition of being fantastically oblivious to pretty much everything.
    The entire book is very bland, the concept is potrayed in a mildly interesting way where it could have been better developed in every way. And I could just not stand the whinny weak girl the main character was. She could have had everything she wanted if she'd simply grown a backbone and told her halfwit 'husband' the truth about her situation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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