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Translate My Heart

I am a twenty-something year old with a fondness for books, snail mail and summer dresses. I work in a bookshop and live in the pages of books.


XVI - Julia Karr The initial draw of this book is the world Julia Karr creates. XVI sets up a futuristic world consumed by constant advertising and marketing, and girls are branded with a XVI tattoo as soon as they turn 16. This tattoo advertises their sexual availability to every boy/man and essentially makes them fair game. A promising premise. However, I had some issues with the world-building. XVI sets itself up as a misogynistic society with no legal recourse for women who are harassed, assaulted, or raped. A world where women are not only preyed on by men, but by predatory marketing, the government and media. I had some trouble connecting how today's world shifts into the one Karr creates. How did the justice system, however minuscule it still is for women today, disappear? And how did humanity let those values vanish? Despite some issues with the world building, I still enjoyed the world Karr shows. Nina is a well-developed character - her strength in protecting Dee, her fear of being sixteen, her drive to understand her mother's death. I enjoy following Nina's story. However, some of the secondary characters felt flat. Grounded Wei and Flighty Sandy felt like stock characters that help emphasize Nina as the balance between the two. These characters have potential and I hope that Karr develops them more in the next book. While it is not the best book out there, Karr creates a story and world that provokes discussion. She shows us how far predatory marketing, sexualization of women and government control can go. It is a reflection of societal ills and the treatment of women today. The themes covered and the premise of the world makes this potentially amazing. However, XVI falls short of the mark. The themes were never fully explored and it became a predictable piece.