3.8 (99,396 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.8 (99,396 ratings by Goodreads)

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By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out? Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 358 pages
  • 142 x 211 x 36mm | 431g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 1442409053
  • 9781442409057
  • 73,781

Review quote

This absorbing page-turner may remind some readers of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games with its fearless heroine, sinister villain, bleak landscape and poignant romance. Wither is less violent but is in many ways even more terrifying as DeStefano proves herself a master of plot, setting, character and psychological suspense. --The Buffalo News
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Rating details

99,396 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 32% (31,749)
4 32% (31,910)
3 24% (23,471)
2 9% (8,510)
1 4% (3,756)

Our customer reviews

Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/review-wither-by-lauren-destefano/ First, I'd like to say this: scroll back up. Look at the cover of this book. Admire it. Isn't it gorgeous? And I especially liked how the design of the book (with all the words in the boxes) was used in the dedication, title page, etc. It created the perfect feel to the book. Now to talking about the actual book! I loved the idea of this book. A world where people die at 20 and 25. Where people kidnap young girls like Rhine to have brides. Where people would either do anything to find a cure or would be willing to die before the end came. But as alluring as that sounds, I was not the happiest camper when I finished the book. I mean, Lauren DeStefano's writing is beautiful. It creates a mystical effect that lets me just float with the book. But the plot ruined this effect. One thing I remember is that when my sister finished reading Wither, she said something about the book not having any real action. And I wholeheartedly agree with her. Where's that action-packed kick-butt feeling? I live on that feeling. But I didn't get that feeling; all I got was frustration as Rhine put her everything into escaping from Linden's mansion, which does sound interesting, but not in this case. And Rhine. Rhine frustrated me. She was always concerned about escaping, escaping, escaping. I know it's good to keep your goal in mind, but it almost made her seem like a flat character with no other characteristics. Sure, something stirred inside of her whenever she thought of Gabriel or when she protected her sister wives. But there was just a key element missing. I didn't really enjoy the romance in this book. Another thing my sister had commented on was this: "I still don't understand why Rhine is attracted to Gabriel." I don't either. I think I understand why Gabriel likes her, but Gabriel doesn't seem to be the kind of guy that girls swoon over. He just seemed like the rock she needed in all her misery and madness. Wither didn't make me satisfied; in fact, it made me more frustrated with Rhine as a character, her romance with Gabriel, and the seemingly empty plot. Add in that terrible cliffhanger, and I'm not sure if I was that big of a fan of this novel.show more
by Linda
Also reviewed on my blog, The Vintage Bookworm. (www.vintagebookworm.blogspot.com) I can't believe it took me this long to read this book. I've wanted to read it since I first heard about it before it even had a cover! But no matter how much I checked at my library's website for it after it came out, it just wasn't there. Finally MONTHS after it came out, it appeared, but I never put it on hold. Finally, I got my own copy as payment for a layout I made for the lovely Michelle. I was excited, but it still just sat there on my TBR pile under my nightstand. FINALLY got to read it and I'm completely blown away. Sometimes, I worry when a book has too much hype. I'm worried hearing it all will give it very high expectations and then it won't live up to it in my eyes and ruin it for me. But that wasn't the case with this book. It lived up to EVERY great thing that everyone has said about this book. I was sucked in from the very first chapter by all the amazing detail and writing. Lauren, you've definitely made a lifetime fan out of me! You're writing is beautiful! When you're reading this book, you feel as if you're really there. I felt everything Rhine felt. (LOVE her unique name.) All the pain, and anger, and longing to escape. Everything. All the characters were vivid and real. Even the ones that I hated. Rhine and Gabriel were my favorites, of course. Which reminds me to let you all know that I am 100% team Gabriel. Yes, Linden was nice at times and you learn a lot about him. But he's not for Rhine! And who would want to share a man with two other women? This book made me think--as all Dystopians do--what if the world is really like this in 100 years? 50 years? Maybe even 20 years from now? That is VERY scary. Girls being kidnapped out of no where and married off to a man along with a couple of other women? And being locked inside a mansion with no freedom at all? And basically only being there to continue the human races? Really freaking scary. But overall, this was an amazing book. I'm dying to get my hands on a copy of Fever. I'm dying to see what happens, definitely after that ending! It's driving me nuts! At least one great thing came out of me waiting so long; I don't have to wait a year for the sequel. It's already out!show more
by Amanda
Firstly, I loved this cover. It was what drew me to the book in the first place. I had been looking for new books to read and came across Wither in my travels. I have only read a couple of Dystopian books before and I find I really like the genre. So I knew I had to give this a go. It sat on my shelf for a while before I finally got the time to read it, but what with getting the ARC of FEVER (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #2) I knew I had to read it soon so that I am up to speed. From the moment I picked it up, I knew I would enjoy this book. I don't know what it is but sometimes I just get this feeling that I will like something and I do. I love the way Lauren DeStefano writes. It's lyrical and beautiful. Wither had me laughing, swearing and fighting tears along the way. Thanks to a botched attempt to create the perfect human race, all males will die at the age of 25 and females at the age of 20. Geneticists may be trying to find a cure, but is it really likely to work? Is there more to life than marrying, having children and dying at such a young age? Rhine is a 16 year old girl, so she has 4 years left before she dies. As if that wasn't bad enough, she is kidnapped and forced into marrying 20 year old Linden. He falls hopelessly in love with Rhine and though she would like to, she can't seem to find it in her to hate him. Even though the way in which they married was somewhat less than Rhine desired, she can't help but feel a little sorry for Linden as his life seems to be ruled by his father, Vaughn. So she finds herself living in a mansion with her husband and her two sister wives, Cecily and Jenna. Yes, you read that right, Linden has not only one wife but three! Rhine is desperate to find a way of letting her twin brother know that she is okay. She is desperate to be free. She can't spend the last years of her life trapped in a mansion with a husband she doesn't love, two sister wives and a monster of a father-in-law. (I can't tell you why, but trust me, Vaughn is a despicable excuse for a human being) When she finds herself drawn to Gabriel, a servant, she encourages him to break free, to go out and discover the world that lies beyond the grounds of the mansion. Will Rhine and Gabriel be able to escape the clutches of this mansion and it's inhabitants? Is there really any hope for freedom? I have to say, I found this story to be interesting, exciting, fast-paced and very well written. I really have high hopes for the next 2 books in the trilogy!show more
by Keren Kiesslinger
While I was reading Wither I happened to be rather sick with Bronchitis, which kept me out of commission for 2 weeks. It might sound rather strange to say this but I was actually grateful that I decided to pick up this book during my prescribed 'bed rest'. In other words, Wither was so amazing that I could not put it down and luckily I didn't have to. I loved the fact that the writing provides such crystal clear imagery. I felt like I was literally whisked away into the beautiful world that Lauren has created. I could see Rhine walking the floor of the sister wives, mingling with people at the entrancing parties, walking among the orange groves and being trapped in the confines of her bedroom. It felt more like watching a film rather than paging through a book. Read the rest at: http://ya-reader.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-wither-by-lauren-destefano.htmlshow more
by Stephanie Watson
One thing I have to say first: I loved every single page. I loved the world it was set in - I mean, what kind of a Dystopia-junkie wouldn't - and I absolutely adored Rhine. Had I been in her situation, I'm not sure I would have been so strong. The ease with which she can act her way through that polygamous marriage and quite honestly, how she can even stand to be in the same room as Linden and/or Cecily at times was beyond me. She (Rhine) is definitely a very strong character, she doesn't dwell too much on what's happened, instead she searches for a way to get out of that situation. Granted, the ideas are not always the best but at least she tries. Lauren DeStefano definitely created a world that maybe nobody would really want to live in but definitely experience. All of her characters (even the evil ones). It's horrible to even think about dying at 20. I mean, I'm barely 19 and to die in less than a year? No thank you. Horrible, absolutely horrible. Especially with those rich guys practically stealing girls from the streets. The novel starts when Rhine climbs out of the van she was pulled in after being "stolen" with a bunch of other girls. She and two other girls are then chosen and brought to a car, and the last thing Rhine can hear before passing out are gunshots - the other girls who weren't chosen were killed. After that I was very surprised at Rhine's cooperativeness but the thoughts she had made it very believable and I almost couldn't put the book down, but my real life demanded more attention than I wanted it, too. If that hadn't been the case I probably would have read it in one sitting. As it is, I can recommend this book without any exceptions. You should definitely read it if you like a good Dystopia and a strong female lead.show more
by Jill Barrakling
When I first saw the cover for Wither I had high hopes that the story would be just as captivating, that it would be hard for me to pull my eyes away, and it was. This story was a beautifully written dystopian novel that really showed the inner struggles of a girl who seemed to have everything a young girl should want - a grand lavish mansion, beautiful dresses, a personal attendant, and the devotion of a man who loves her but without true freedom. Like the cover depicts, Rhine is a bird trapped in a beautiful cage, an illusion. Yet, despite what has happened to her I have to admit Rhine's life before being captured by the Gatherers was awful. She's an orphan and was living with her twin brother in the basement of her family home because it was the safest place to hide from beggars, thieves, and men who steal young girls off the streets and from their homes. Both her and her twin had to work to keep from starving and they each had to take turns at night keeping watch for intruders. Given the circumstances of Rhine's life I could easily have pictured this story going a completely different route if Rhine's situation was just a little different and if her character was just a little different. I, like Rhine, had to constantly work at not forgetting how she had gotten to the lavish lifestyle that she is living, to not forget that she was stolen away, her freedom taken, and her brother left alone miles away in a factory strewn Manhattan because it is very easy to forget when her old life is completely hidden away. She doesn't forget though, no matter how many times people tell her to not run away, that it's dangerous, that the life she is living isn't so bad, and that if she just behaves she can have "anything" she wants. Rhine doesn't give in no matter how tempting the words are because she knows that this world she is in cannot give her her brother, and her freedom. Wither is a story that shows the beauty and darkness of the human heart, it was really a story about the characters, not just Rhine herself but her sister wives, her husband Linden, her ambitious father-in-law, and many other characters that weren't just there to fill the space or carry the story along but who truly added to the tale. Unlike a few other dystopians Wither isn't about the action and the external forces but about the will and strength of the people.show more
by Sandy
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