Wither by Lauren DeStefano

T.G.I.F., Figs. It’s been a busy week that’s left me super behind on NaNoWriMo. If you Figs, like me, need some pep talking, check out one or two (or all) of our NaNoWriMotivational videos. And for those who want a break from all their writing to relax with a good book, we have our weekly recommendation for you! (Figment’s got it all.)

Since having a full outline isn’t so important for NaNo, the whole project reminds me a bit of Wither by Lauren DeStefano. When Lauren started writing, the only thing she knew was that her main character, Rhine, was in a dark place–and that things were about to get worse. That nugget of an idea grew into the story of Rhine’s kidnapping and forced polygamous marriage set in a dystopian society where men croak at 25 and women kick the bucket at 20.

Time is ticking, so let’s see where Wither falls on the Figment Scale of Awesome:

+120 for multidimensional characters. Lauren’s got skill when it comes to writing her characters. There are two characters in particular that you’ll oscillate between loving and hating. Sometimes they’re cruel, or irritating, or immature–but then in the next scene you can’t help but adore them a little bit.

+200 for Rhine playing the game. Homegirl isn’t dumb. Just because her polygamous husband put a ring on it, doesn’t mean that Rhine’s gonna just ACCEPT this life of luxury and money and candy and fancy schmancy clothes and . . . wait, I’m sorry, why isn’t Rhine loving all this? Oh, right. Because she has a twin brother out there somewhere and also some respect for herself.

-60 for Little Orphan Rhine. In a world where characters are dying left and right just because they’ve reached those fateful ages, there are enough dead bodies to last a lifetime. But there are two bodies I really resent: Rhine’s parents. Unfortunately, they went BOOM! in a lab explosion. They may have died trying to save the world, but because we HATE THAT EVERY PARENT EVER IN YA DIES, their deaths certainly don’t win them any points with us.

-48 for Rhine’s rampant eating disorder. I lost count of the number of times Rhine lost her appetite, split her breakfast with a friend, barely touched her dinner, or took one bite of something only to have it turn to paste or ash or something equally gross in her mouth. And when she does eat? She nibbles a strawberry. She sucks on a hard candy. She drinks twelve glasses of wine on an empty stomach. Rhine, you have like four years left to live and all the food in the world at your disposal. Maybe try a bite.

+184 for kickass covers. Seriously, Simon & Schuster got some extra talented folks to put this series’s covers together. From the gorgeous model, to the imprisoning concept, to the pretty dresses (that even I want to wear . . . forget I said that), these covers will have you reaching for the books whether you’re interested or not. (Check out the Fever Cover Reveal video here!)

That brings Wither to an impressive scoring of 396 points! Until someone finds a cure for this time sensitive disease, I think reading Wither should be added to your bucket list. And if you’re lucky enough to survive into the new year, you’ll have Fever to look forward to–hitting shelves on February 21st, 2012!

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