Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien is another dystopian young adult novel that I read recently in an attempt to keep myself awake at night. It worked.
Gaia Stone, a sixteen year old midwife, lives outside the Enclave wall. She is required to give a certain number of delivered babies to the guards at the gate each month. She's never questioned this requirement (or any others for that matter) until now. The government, the very leaders she has always served, imprison her parents, forcing her to rethink everything she has always known.
A brave heroine, Gaia is willing to risk her life to save her parents. In the process, she discovers the secrets of the Enclave. In her fight against the institution, she finds personal strength and romance with a handsome member of the Enclave.
Birthmarked left me hungering for the sequel, which I downloaded to my Kindle immediately. Unfortunately, Prized, while very entertaining, brought up an issue that I wish had been left alone...Abortion. The book could have easily been written without bringing this into it.
In Prized, Gaia strikes out into the wilderness with her newborn sister in search of a group of rebels. What she finds is a fascinating matriarchal colony in the middle of nowhere. In this colony ten boys are born to every girl, so women are highly prized. Men aren't even allowed to vote...or talk to women or touch them without invitation.
However, due to some unknown cause, everyone who tries to leave the colony gets sick and dies. All Gaia really wants is to keep her sister safe.
Like I said, this book was entertaining. I would have endorsed it (and Birthmarked) whole-heartedly if it had not been for the topic of abortion.
A minor character in the book who is unmarried asks Gaia to make her miscarry a baby. Gaia wrestles with the idea because of her love of babies and instinct to protect them, but she chooses to help with the miscarriage, deciding that the mother's choice is the most important thing.