Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
I'd never heard of this series before last week, when I read a blurb about Prized, the sequel to Birthmarked. Prized sounded so good I just had to read Birthmarked and happily for me, the library had Birthmarked all checked-in and ready for me.
Birthmarked follows the journey of Gaia Stone, a midwife who learned her trade from her mother "outside the wall." In this dystopian society, those with any kind of deformity are not allowed inside the wall, where there is supposedly a perfected population. But to keep up genetic diversity, the first three newborns in each districts are given up for those inside. When Gaia's parents are arrested, she sneaks inside the wall to find them, but instead finds herself caught and commanded to figure out her father's code... a code that could affect the future of all those inside the wall.
This book was a bit of a slow start for me, but once I hit about fifty pages in or so it really picked up. This was a fast paced book and I was really rooting for Gaia the whole time. It was great that in a world where snitching seemed to be the norm, there were even people inside the wall who wanted Gaia to succeed. The plot had lots of twists and turns that I really enjoyed, it kept the book fresh, and the ending was... well, crazy! I can't wait to read Prized and see what happens next to Gaia.
A note about the code: the code Gaia needs to solve is actually in the book. I found myself looking at it, trying to solve it myself and I was delighted to solve it a few pages before Gaia did. That's the first time I've ever been able to do that.
The only thing about this book was that i would have liked to have seen even more of a relationship play out between Gaia and Leon. I'm hoping to see more of that in the next book.
A must-read for you dystopian lovers out there! Particularly those of you who prefer a dystopian heroine who does not rely on her love interest to survive. Gaia is a strong female lead all by herself.