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Extended Audio Sample Wither Audiobook, by Lauren DeStefano Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (40,636 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren DeStefano Narrator: Angela Lin Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Chemical Garden Trilogy Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781461804321
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By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of twenty-five years, and females a lifespan of twenty years—leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek 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 sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet 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 has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

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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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lauren DeStefano crafts an all-too-believable future. I loved the world, the romance, the writing—exactly the kind of book I’ve been craving to read.”

    Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author

  • “This beautifully written debut fantasy, with its intriguing world-building, well-developed characters and intricate plot involving flashbacks as wella s edge-of-the-seat suspense, will keep teens riveted.”

    VOYA

  • The Handmaid’s Tale for YA readers…DeStefano has an observant and occasionally pitiless eye, chronicling the cruelties, mercies, and inconsistencies of her young characters…It will be intriguing to see how DeStefano develops it as this promising trilogy progresses.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “This haunting and inventive tale…combines elements of romance and suspense in a character-driven dystopia…This excellent audio will expand DeStefano’s audience to those who like to read with their ears.”

    Booklist (audio review)

  • “This character-driven dystopia, more thoughtful than thrilling, sets up an arresting premise that succeeds because of Rhine’s poignant, conflicted narrative and DeStefano’s evocative prose. Many will appreciate the intense character drama.”

    Booklist

  • “Rhine…proves herself to be a heroine who faces her situation with spirit and cleverness. The trapped bride and mysterious husband are straight out of gothic romances. By stirring in elements of sheer creepiness with dystopia and the hot topic of polygamy, DeStafano creates a story that should have broad appeal.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale with a touch of Big Love…Rhine’s fight for freedom against the clock—and the dissecting table—will leave reader eager for the sequel. Give this one to fans of the Hunger Games trilogy or Ally Condie’s Matched.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “DeStefano has begun an incredibly detailed adventure, with characters who are multifaceted and engaging. The world she has created is frighteningly possible, and her writing is simply page turning.”

    RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

  • A Booklist Best Book for Young Adults: 2012

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Molly | 2/16/2014

    " Polygamy being the premise of a YA book isn't typical and I suppose that's why I liked it - it was something different. The main character seemed to have a better connection with her husband than with her love interest, which I don't think was the author's purpose but that's how it seemed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Planas | 2/5/2014

    " An interesting book...but of course I wish there was more romance waaaah "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josilyn | 1/29/2014

    " I ate this book right up! I loved everything about it: the world, the society, the girls who are forced to be brides. Lauren DeStefano paints a vivid picture of a horrifying society with deft prose and a compelling storytelling style. I am very intrigued and itching to get my hands on the next two books in the series. If you love alternate universes/dystopia, strong heroines, romance, and an impossible-to-put-down story, this one's for you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sydney | 1/7/2014

    " This book was very interesting.... The concept- that almost everyone dies at a young age, so people try to procreate and take care of all that as soon as they can- is so original. So there is Rhine, she is just one of the many girls who are kidnapped daily and sold to wealthy men or sold into prostitution. She is bought by a man to become his wife along with two other girls who become her sister wives. Even though she develops an odd but comforting relationship with her sister wives and 'husband', Rhine struggles everyday to find a way out of her prison and back to her twin brother who she left behind. I really enjoyed this book. There were a few slow parts that I skimmed over but the rest of the book made up for that. Also, this book was really sexual, as a book about this can only be, but it was handled in a very mature way that didn't make it awkward or difficult to read. In all, this was a very original book and a great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikki | 1/5/2014

    " There was just something about this book. Maybe the hope that Rhine found in a hopeless situation (which I still don't see how she found with two deaths). The plot line was overwhelmingly better than the actual story, but it did end as I hoped it would. I'm going to finish the series, but I hate that it'll have a better plot than actual sentences. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edith Kaczmarczyk | 1/4/2014

    " Ok... All I have to say after reading other people's reviews.. Is come on let's remember this is a Young Adult Novel. What do you think it will be like? All the people that gave this book a poor review need to reevaluate their book preferences. This is a typical young adult type of read. It was interesting. I have to say the whole sister wives thing is a hard sell for me but still... every book is not going to be me!! The point is to experience new ideas, new concepts and after awhile I did get into it. I like dystopia type young adult books... and I think this one is pretty good. I don't feel the need to evaluate ever character for you.. or list pros and cons. The main character is interesting enough where I will read the next book... I think that's a good enough review...;0)!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Haley | 12/22/2013

    " I couldn't get into this book. The premise didn't really make sense and had too many holes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phebe | 11/21/2013

    " Loved it! It was romance, suspense, and slight mystery all in one and leaves you wondering what the second book is like! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivia | 8/31/2013

    " It was great! And definitely better than the second one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sammy | 8/24/2013

    " I'd give it 3.5 stars "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica Camara | 8/6/2013

    " I would prefer to give this one 3.5 stars if possible. I thought the story line was really interesting - but wished the ending had been a little more action packed... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chelsie | 6/22/2013

    " Wow, this was just something else. It's such an interesting read, it really puts things into perspective when you look at how long your life is, and also the freedom you have. I'm about to start Fever; the sequel to this, I'm hoping it's just as engrossing as this! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Booklover | 7/25/2012

    " Loved the plot. It's a bit dark so be prepared!! But other then that I definitely recommend this book!! It is wonderfully written!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nidhi | 7/5/2012

    " Horrific story of a teenage girl to escape her murderous father, but also escape her sweet husband. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Designer Girl;) | 6/1/2012

    " LOVED IT! I just wish that the future wouldn't be like that in reality.... Just imagine dying beofre your 21:((( "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annick | 4/6/2012

    " To me, this book was nice brain candy. Some things didn't really make sense. (Like the virus thing...) But somehow I managed to put that aside and enjoy the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abbey | 2/12/2012

    " Call me immature but I actually liked this book. Sure, the writing wasn't very good and the narrative bore no intellect (which makes me wonder why these people consider themselves 'writers' at all) -- but the narrative was strong and it was an easy, light novel that passed the time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karina | 1/18/2012

    " Aboslutely amazing! it makes us realize we should be greatful for what we have and to show us how there are people out there living in poverty or getting forced into arranged marriges so sad :( but a great novel ! cant wait to read the second one ! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julianne | 11/14/2011

    " I don't think I can write a better review than Anila has already done here. So if you want to know what I thought of this book, read Anila's review. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 11/7/2011

    " Reminded me a lot of The Handmaid's Tale. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mj | 11/3/2011

    " i felt locked myself because of the limited character and places..its like reading something and u can't breathe..i don't know what's the point of bringing up his brother over and over again.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chandra | 10/30/2011

    " Well-developed characters, post-apocalyptic, and plenty of desserts -- my kind of book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jc | 10/28/2011

    " ok so this book is pretty hard for me to review. I liked the story idea and the end result of the book but during the read it was hard for me to understand or feel sympathic during the times I should have felt it. but overall again, I liked the end result of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 JJ iReads | 10/27/2011

    " OMG! I loved this book so much. Can't wait for Fever. Review to be posted soon. #boutofbooks #book3 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 10/25/2011

    " I like how the author expanded the story. it's all so interesting! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peggy | 10/25/2011

    " The book jacket asks a good question- what choices will you make if you know your expiration date? For me, the story itself didn't quite live up to the thought-provoking nature of the question. I'll probably read the next book when it comes out, but it's not like I want it to come out tomorrow. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kyla | 10/22/2011

    " Interesting read, I had a fun time with it.... but part of that was repeatedly describing the plot as "dystopian Sister Wives", if only because when else would I say that in a sentence? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tennille | 10/21/2011

    " I give it 3.5 stars i liked it but didn tlove it i will go on wuith the series though :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Slimsmurfy | 9/21/2011

    " I do love dystopians, and this is one of the best I've read. I LOVE IT <3 "

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About the Author
Author Lauren DeStefano

Lauren DeStefano is the bestselling author of the Chemical Garden trilogy. The second book in the series, Fever, was a New York Times bestseller. She received a BA in English from Albertus Magnus College and has been writing since childhood. Before becoming a writer she worked as a receptionist, an English tutor, and a tax collector.

About the Narrator

Angela Lin graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in drama. A critically acclaimed actress, her credits include The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, and As the World Turns, among others.