4 out of 4 stars
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There are books that I enjoy taking my time reading; they are meant to be sipped and savored like a fine wine. Then there are books that my eyes can't fly across the page fast enough; these are meant to be gulped as one in a desert thirsty for water. XX v XY is a dystopian fiction that falls into the latter category.
The United States are now divided; there is an East America and a West America. In the East, women are property. A woman's highest honor is to become a Nancy. A Nancy goes through programming to become completely submissive to her husband. She is also given cosmetic surgery to have the perfect look; they go so far as to bleach the women's skin.
In the West, women rule. Marriage is non-existent, but women have houseboys that take care of them. For those that cannot afford houseboys, a partner is taken. Sex is permitted only for procreation purposes. The women of the West take a pill called Amplexus that makes them stronger and keeps the weak feelings at bay.
The East and the West do not get along. The women of the West feel sorry for those that are programmed into becoming Nancys. The East does not like the way the men in the West are treated. They have gone so far as to poison the water in the West so that they cannot bear children. Who is right? Which sex is stronger? How can two sides that are seemingly so different reconcile? Is it even possible?
This book had me hooked from the start. I love dystopian stories, and this one is very well written. There are similarities to other books out there, namely Gender Games. However, the authors put their own spin on the story. The characters are engaging and realistic. I found myself rooting for the Nancys to break free of their mental prison. I even saw a little bit of myself in some of the characters.
I also enjoyed the fact that the book is not only fun to read, but there are lessons to be learned as well. There are themes of staying true to yourself as well as love conquering all. In the East and the West, you see two extremes. Once again, though, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
There were a few minor drawbacks in this book. First, I had a bit of an issue with the genre classification. OBC has this book classified as young adult. Some of the content as well as the themes are a bit too mature for younger audiences, though. I would recommend this only be read by mature high schoolers or adults.
The second problem that I came across was with one of the characters. Thaddeus is from East America but moved to the West in his childhood. He was once a female but is now a male. He is the nanny for a prominent West American child. When it's first explained that he used to be a woman, the authors don't really make it clear why. Since this is a dystopian fiction, there could be a number of reasons. I kept asking myself why he became a woman especially in a society that clearly values females. I believe that the authors wanted this character to be transgender. I just feel that this wasn't made clear enough if that was their intent.
The minor flaws did not at all detract from my enjoyment of this story. It is with pleasure that I rate XX v XY 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good science fiction novel. However, I do want to warn you... Once you start this book, you won't be able to put it down until the last page!
xx v xy
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