Gaia is a 16-year-old midwife living outside “the wall” where she and other midwives are required to “advance” a quota of babies each month to the Enclave, the society inside the wall. When Gaia’s parents are arrested and taken prisoner inside the wall, Gaia must find a way to rescue them, and in the process comes to question everything she thought she knew and believed. I’m surprised that I liked this book so well. The story was very interesting but I felt it wasn’t very tightly woven together and had a lot of holes. That being said, I liked the characters, there were tense moments, and it was pretty fast paced (except in the middle for a bit). I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Review by Christine Fotheringham, Rolling Meadows Elem. School Media Center
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 Stars)
Interest Level: Jr. High and High School

Imagine being born into a society of haves and have-nots divided by a wall to keep them apart. Then add to that society a quota placed on the have-nots’ parents, who are required to give up a certain number of their newborn babies to the haves who live luxuriously inside the wall. This is the setting Gaia is born into. She has trained under her mother as a midwife and does not question the policies of the dominant society until one fateful day when her parents are taken as prisoners by the haves with no explanation and news.

Gaia is determined to find out where her parents are and, in her quest, discovers the fallacy behind the two societies that have lived side by side for centuries and decides to do something about it.

Review by Celia Powell, Granite School District Instructional Technology Department
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 Stars)

Birthmarked – Official Site

Written by Caragh M. O’Brien
Roaring Brook Press
362 pages
Release Date: March 30, 2010
ISBN: 9781596435698 (hardcover)

Watch for Prized, the sequel to Birthmarked, which comes out this fall (November 8, 2011).

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