Series: Birthmarked #1
Published by Roaring Brook Press on March 30th 2010
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.
Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.
Gaia is the daughter of a midwife and destined to be one herself someday. That day arrives too quickly when her parents are arrested for reasons unsure to her. Bravely, she decides she must try to help them – even if it means breaking the rules she has followed her whole life.
Birthmarked had a fantastic plot with a few twists, dramatic moments, and even some underlying romance.
Gaia surprised me. She cared too much for her family to live a safe life. She definitely is very conscious of her scarred face and sometimes cannot see past it to how beautiful she is, both inside and outside.
The Captain that seems transfixed with Gaia upon her arrival in the Enclave is also an interesting character. Disowned by his family and a member of the guard, he finds himself drawn to Gaia and wanting to aide her. I really like the way they interacted throughout the novel – definitely a pair of characters I wish to see more of in the future.
Final Verdict: I think any reader can relate to having to make difficult choices in life and that's what this book really is about. Also, the love for her family makes Gaia believe that she must do this, even if it jeopardizes her own life.