Hardcover | February 12, 2013

byLauren DeStefano

not yet rated|write a review
Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$18.13 online
$19.99 list price (save 9%)
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidat...

Lauren Destefano won The Thornton Wilder Award for a short story entitled Orange Blood while in high school. She received a BA in English with a concentration in creative writing from Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut in 2007. She is the author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy.

other books by Lauren DeStefano


Paperback|Dec 6 2011

$11.01 online$11.99list price(save 8%)
Perfect Ruin
Perfect Ruin

Paperback|Mar 10 2015

$14.97 online$14.99list price
Broken Crowns
Broken Crowns

Paperback|Feb 28 2017


see all books by Lauren DeStefano
Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.3 inPublished:February 12, 2013Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442409096

ISBN - 13:9781442409095

Customer Reviews of Sever


Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Fascinating Conclusion to a Great Trilogy! In "Sever" the conclusion to the "Chemical Garden" trilogy Rhine has left Gabriel behind in Manhattan to return with her father-in-law to the basement of the mansion where Vaughn uses her as a guinea pig to continue his relentless pursuit of a cure for a virus that kills the young in the prime of their lives. But with a staunch defender in Cecily, Rhine quickly recovers making a strong ally in Vaughn's brother Reed and redefining her relationship with Linden who has never gotten over his love for her. With their support Rhine not only reconnects with her twin Rowan a vigilante warrior but uncovers the truth behind her parents' research, its implications for her future and a connection between her brother and Vaughn Ashby. In this story lies, secrets and mysteries of the past are revealed as the bond between the twins deepens and tragedy strikes. With skillful dexterity Lauren DeStefano weaves an exciting finale to her tale with twists and turns that reveal not only Rose's parentage, the Ellerys' experiments and their Chemical Garden project, but also the history of world events that brought death and chaos. The plot is enthralling as Rhine and her brother not only reconnect but she discovers that he has been swept up in Vaughn's research. Amid all the despair, uncertainty and fear relationships between the characters begin to evolve. Afraid to trust Rhine and having lost Rose and Jenna, Linden gravitates towards Cecily's love and loyalty. But, although they are dedicated to each other, it's evident he and Rhine are drawn to one another, their love still strong. When Gabriel appears near the end of the story Rhine 's again struggling to save him. Shattered by a recent tragedy she pursues her feelings for Gabriel although there is little chemistry between them. Fourteen year old Cecily has matured throughout the series losing her brattiness becoming practical, self-assured and more defiant when facing her father-in-law. Although she knows Linden is torn between his feelings for her and for Rhine, Cecily's friendship with her sister wife is strong and she's willing to defy Vaughn to protect her. Suffering through tragedy, Vaughn's experimentation and her unresolved feelings for Linden and Gabriel, Rhine has become compassionate, forgiving and self-sacrificing. She draws strength not only from Cecily and Reed but from a close bond to her brother. Included in a host of personalities that add intensity and excitement to the drama are; Linden Ashby the talented, patient but passive son who rebels after learning the truth about his father; Housemaster Vaughn the brilliant scientist who's manipulative and controlling but deeply loves his son and grandson; and Reed the eccentric, tolerant and wise inventor. Lauren DeStefano is a masterful storyteller, creating a dark, sinister world where in the end justice and mercy prevail. I liked "Sever" the third in the Chemical Garden trilogy and will look for other novels by this writer in future
Date published: 2016-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great end to a series *some spoilers* Okay, what can I say about this book? I read this book weeks and weeks ago and I'm just getting to writing my review now. Why, you ask. Well that's simple, I can't quite put into words how much I really love this whole series. I mean there is a kickass heroine, a conflicted character (is he good or is he bad?), a super villain, and a reason to fight. I still can't quite form coherent sentences at this point without either sounding silly or giving away spoilers. This book is the third book in a series and it concludes the series quite nicely. I like that it was not all rainbows and unicorns because the series is not at all like this. There are many sad things in the world that DeStefano creates but in the midst of this there are many glimpses of hope for the future. What I liked about this novel is that you could really start to understand the motives behind some of the characters. Even with the characters you hate, you can really start to kind of understand why they do the messed up things that they do. In a way you almost start to feel sorry for them because they can never truly be happy, nor can they find the good amongst all the bad. This book sent my emotions all over the place. Without giving too much away, there is a point in this book when things aren't as they seem and this just threw me into overdrive. I was calling everyone I knew to see if they had read the book yet and if they had read that far in the book. Then I continued to read and my tear ducts dried up but only momentarily. Oh Lauren DeStefano you know how to make a girl cry. To me this is the sign of a good book but if I'm being honest I'm an easy customer because it seems like I can cry at almost anything. Well, this review is a little disjointed but I feel like there is nothing I can say to do this book justice. I loved it and I loved the whole series. What am I going to do now that it's done?
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After For some reason, I was never dreading the end of this trilogy but I was immensely curious to see how things turned out and how the books would be wrapped up. Fever had a number of big reveals for us, and I was anticipating learning more about those reveals. The Chemical Garden trilogy is one that has shocked me from beginning to end, and I applaud Lauren's thoughtfulness in writing these books. Yet they failed to completely resonate with me, and left me wanting more from them in the end. Reasons to Read: 1. Rhine finds her independence: YAY! Awesome. I love that Rhine really has more of an opportunity in Sever to step out on her own, without really needing to rely on someone else (more specifically, without relying on any one boy). I don't think we see enough of this in YA, and I appreciate that Rhine takes the time to step back from relationships for a little while to figure out what her plan is, and then figures out who will be a part of that along with her. (I will add, however, that it takes a while for her to really get into this role, and the lead-in was far too slow. It takes her a little while to break those chains.) The introduction of additional, fascinating characters: 2. I, for one, really loved both Reed and Rowan (how many people in this book have names that begin with "R"?) - I thought they both really added to the story and gave the plot a bit more depth. They both shed a bit more light on the world, and specifically on Vaughn. Plus they change Rhine's perception of people and her situation, and frankly I wish we had seen more of them earlier on in the series because they ended up being two of my favourites. They pulled at my heartstrings, and all those warm, fuzzy feelings (in sad ways).  I finally realized why this series hasn't resonated with me the way I expected it to though. So much of this book feels very adult-oriented to me, particularly with regards to its themes and issues. I have a much harder time relating to the characters because of this, and as interesting as it is I just feel disconnected in the end. The very nature of the world is one that forces Rhine (and other characters) to grow up far too quickly; there essentially is no childhood experience. And for that reason, I realized in Sever that I have a harder time connecting with this book and the series overall. We still see some evidence of Rhine's young age, with her conflicting feelings towards other characters. But this has dragged on for so long (the back and forth between the boys (especially), her sister-wives, and even Vaughn) in the series and in Sever in particular that I just stopped caring altogether. And while I found many of the reveals to be fascinating, the ending felt like it was rushed and wrapped up too quickly. It surprised me, because very few things were left as open as I expected given the circumstances. And frankly some of the plot twists didn't shock me like they should have, because it seemed to me that they didn't have very big of an impact and weren't written as poignantly as the situation deserved. Sever is a wild ride for sure, full of shocks and twists, and leaves you with a surprising amount of hope considering the dark world the characters live in. I loved that it isn't entirely a dreary experience, and that there can be some goodness found at the end of the all for Rhine and her story. It just lacked the punch it should have had as the end of a trilogy, but the introduction of new characters and an intriguing world were enough for me to still enjoy Sever. ARC received from Simon & Schuster Canada for review; no other compensation was received. 
Date published: 2014-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good enough to keep me wondering! Finally a look into the outside world as Rhine sees it. She is constantly at battle with herself and the struggles and heartache she goes through just made me feel like I was in her head. You can see how much she has changed from Fever and to finally have an ending for this trilogy.. All I can say is I was pestered with all the FEELS! As for all the other characters, I felt each character come to terms with who they are and how they have developed from the first novel. I LOVE CHARACTER GROWTH! Explanations of the world building are finally answered and it may not be the answer I was looking for, it did at least answer some of my questions. I felt the ending was rushed and the information was dumped in the end, but at least there were some answers. Lauren has a way of writing that makes you stay in the character’s life and not think about anything or anyone else. She has this keen ability to write about the human mind and all its wonders. Her writing is on point and this one was a little longer than the others but it was still a fabulous read. Looking forward to what else Lauren has in store for us! Characters So much character growth in this one! Pacing/Length Pacing is just right. Length was a little long, but I didn’t seem to mind in the end. Cover/Design Gorgeous! This one isn’t Photoshopped as much since it looks like an actual cover model. Oh and I love the emerald green on this one. Plot Good enough to keep me wondering! Overall, a satisfying conclusion to the Chemical Gardens Trilogy
Date published: 2013-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting If you're reading this I'm assuming you have read the first two in the series, and you were most likely annoyed by unanswered questions, but more nagging, is facts around the world DeStefano has built and by now you have just accepted that it is a wonderful story and the holes in the world can be forgiven. OMG they get answered! Sever actually answers every question. The Chemical Gardens trilogy ends with a haunting message and every character grows. It is rare for a series to have even the lesser characters be given a background and growth, but there is NO ONE that I ended the novel hating, yes, that's right, NO ONE, and if you've read the last two that should strike you as odd. This really has to be read as a trilogy, and once read, will be one of the stories that will stick with you for a long time to come.
Date published: 2013-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional & Haunting Conclusion to the Chemical Garden Trilogy! After Fever ended on such a suspenseful note, the months of waiting ahead for the final installment in The Chemical Garden trilogy felt unbearable. The stunning book covers usually offer clues about the events, so I deciphered it closely, searching for some sort of reassurance that everything would be alright for Rhine in the end. As I began reading Sever, I fell in love all over again with Lauren DeStefano's gorgeous prose. Her poignant style of writing leaves a haunting impression, and each page is infused with a rush of shattered emotions. Hope is the flickering light of a candle which threatens to give into the darkness of fear and despair. Desperate to escape Vaughn's grasp, Rhine takes temporary refuge with Linden's uncle, a man named Reed who's nothing like his estranged brother, before she can finally search for Rowan, her twin brother. The more time passes, the more Rhine grows increasingly concerned for him. Rowan is caught up in an underground resistance protesting genetic research, and she can't shake the feeling it's only a matter of time before he's bound to get himself hurt. Rhine's journey will lead her to discoveries about her parents that she could never have imagined... and the reason Vaughn refuses to leave her alone. Vaughn has always fascinated me as a villain because he's such a complicated man. He may be a brilliant doctor and geneticist, but his morals have become so twisted that he would do absolutely anything to discover a cure, even if it meant hurting other people. Cecily is determined to remain by Rhine's side and help find her brother, but I warily accepted Cecily's presence. She has a much stronger role in this novel, but even though Cecily may have good intentions, her assistance in the past has usually made everything much worse. I've always been ever so fond of Linden, so it was sad for me to see him come to the realization that his father is not the man he always thought he was. Linden has always lived in his own sheltered little bubble, but it finally bursts apart in Sever. I had predicted in the very first novel, Wither, how Rhine would become such an important figure in her generation, so it was very satisfying to see that I was proven right. That being said, there were still so many surprises which I would never have guessed! Shocking revelations will challenge everything you thought you knew about this dark dystopian world that Lauren DeStefano has envisioned. Emotional and even downright heart-wrenching at times, Lauren DeStefano's Sever explores the human condition and just how far we are willing to go to protect our loved ones. It was a perfect finish to a series which has captivated me from the very beginning. The conclusion to The Chemical Garden trilogy will linger in your heart long after you finish reading it. You can also read this review at:
Date published: 2013-02-12

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Sever IN THE ATLAS the river still flows. The thin line of it carries cargo to a destination that no longer exists. We share a name, the river and I; if there’s a reason for this, it died with my parents. The river lingers in my daydreams, though. I imagine it spreading out into the greatness of the ocean, melting into sunken cities, carrying old messages in bottles. I have wasted too much time on this page. Really I should be in North America, charting my way from the Florida coastline to Providence, Rhode Island, where my twin brother has just bombed a hospital for its pro-science research on embryos. I don’t know how many are dead because of him. Linden shifts his weight restlessly. “I didn’t even know you had a brother,” he’d said when I told him where I was going. “But the list of things I don’t know about you is growing longer every day, isn’t it?” He’s bitter. About our marriage and the way it ended. About the way it’s not really over. My sister wife looks out the window, her hair like light through autumn leaves. “It’s going to rain,” she says quietly. She’s here only at my insistence. My once-husband still doesn’t quite believe she was in danger in his father’s, Vaughn’s, home. Or maybe he does believe it; I’m not sure, because he’s barely speaking to me these days, except to ask how I’m feeling and to tell me I’ll be discharged from the hospital soon. I should consider myself lucky; most of the patients here are crammed into the lobbies or a dozen to a room, and that’s if they’re not turned away. I have comfort and privacy. Hospitalization of this class is reserved for the wealthy, and it just so happens that my father-in-law owns nearly every medical facility in the state of Florida. Because there is never enough blood for transfusions, and because I lost so much of it when I sawed into my leg in a maddened delirium, it took me a long time to recover. And now that my blood has regenerated, they want to take it a bit at a time and analyze it to be sure I’m recovering. They’re under the assumption that my body didn’t respond to Vaughn’s attempts to treat the virus; I’m not sure what exactly he told them, but he has a way of being everywhere without being present. I have an interesting blood type, they say. They wouldn’t have been able to find a match even if more people donated their blood for the meager pay the hospital gives. Cecily mentioned the rain to distract Linden from the nurse who has just sterilized my arm. But it doesn’t work. Linden’s green eyes are trained on my blood as it fills up the syringe. I hold the atlas in my blanketed lap, turn the page. I find my way back to North America—the only continent that’s left, and even it isn’t whole; there are uninhabitable pieces of what used to be known as Canada and Mexico. There used to be an entire world of people and countries out there, but they’ve all since been destroyed by wars so distant they’re hardly spoken about. “Linden?” Cecily says, touching his arm. He turns his head to her, but doesn’t look. “Linden,” she tries again. “I need to eat something. I’m getting a headache.” This gets his attention because she is four months pregnant and prone to anemia. “What would you like, love?” he says. “I saw brownies in the cafeteria earlier.” He frowns, tells her she should be eating things with more sustenance, but ultimately succumbs to her pouting. Once he has left my hospital room, Cecily sits on the edge of my bed, rests her chin on my shoulder, and looks at the page. The nurse leaves us, my blood on his cart of surgical utensils. This is the first time I’ve been alone with my sister wife since arriving at the hospital. She traces the outline of the country, swirls her finger around the Atlantic in tandem with her sigh. “Linden is furious with me,” she says, not without remorse, but also not in her usual weepy way. “He says you could have been killed.” I spent months in Vaughn’s basement laboratory, the subject of countless experiments, while Linden obliviously milled about upstairs. Cecily, who visited me and talked of helping me escape, never told him about any of it. It isn’t the first time she betrayed me; though, as with the last time, I believe that she was trying to help. She would botch Vaughn’s experiments by removing IVs and tampering with the equipment. I think her goal was to get me lucid enough to walk out the back door. But Cecily is young at fourteen years old, and doesn’t understand that our father-in-law has plans much bigger than her best efforts. Neither of us stands a chance against him. He’s even had Linden believing him for all these years. Still, I ask, “Why didn’t you tell Linden?” She draws a shaky breath and sits more upright. I look at her, but she won’t meet my eyes. Not wanting to intimidate her with guilt, I look at the open atlas. “Linden was so heartbroken when you left,” she says. “Angry, but sad, too. He wouldn’t talk about it. He closed your door and forbade me from opening it. He stopped drawing. He spent so much time with me and with Bowen, and I loved that, but I could tell it was because he wanted to forget you.” She takes a deep breath, turns the page. We stare at South America for a few seconds. Then she says, “And, eventually, he started to get better. He was talking about taking me to the spring expo that’s coming up. Then you came back, and I thought, if he saw you, it would undo all the progress he’d made.” Now she looks at me, her brown eyes sharp. “And you didn’t want to be back, anyway. So I thought I could get you to escape again, and he would never have to know, and we could all just be happy.” She says that last word, “happy,” like it’s the direst thing in the world. Her voice cracks with it. A year ago, here is where she’d have started to cry. I remember that on my last day before I ran away, I left her screaming and weeping in a snowbank when she realized how she’d betrayed our older sister wife, Jenna, by telling our father-in-law of Jenna’s efforts to help me escape, which only aided his decision to dispose of her. But Cecily has grown since then. Having a child and enduring the loss of not one but two members of her marriage have aged her. “Linden was right,” she says. “You could have been killed, and I—” She swallows hard, but doesn’t take her eyes from mine. “I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself. I’m sorry, Rhine.” I wrap my arm around her shoulders, and she leans against me. “Vaughn is dangerous,” I say into her ear. “Linden doesn’t want to believe it, but I think you do.” “I know,” she says. “He’s tracking your every move the way he tracked me.” “I know.” “He killed Jenna.” “I know. I know that.” “Don’t let Linden talk you into trusting him,” I say. “Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re alone with him.” “You can run away, but I can’t,” she says. “That’s my home. It’s all I have.” Linden clears his throat in the doorway. Cecily bounds to him and ups herself on tiptoes to kiss him when she takes the brownie from his hand. Then she unwraps its plastic. She settles in a chair and props her swollen feet up on the window ledge. She has a way of ignoring Linden’s hints about wanting to be alone with me. It was a minor annoyance in our marriage, but right now it’s a relief. I don’t know what Linden wants to say to me, only that his fidgeting means he wants it to be in private, and I’m dreading it. I watch as Cecily nibbles the edges of the brownie and dusts crumbs off her shirtfront. She’s aware of Linden’s restlessness, but she also knows he won’t ask her to leave. Because she’s pregnant, and because she’s the only wife left who so genuinely adores him. Linden picks up the sketchbook he abandoned on a chair, sits, and tries to busy himself looking through his building designs. I sort of feel sorry for him. He has never been authoritative enough to ask for what he wants. Even though I know this conversation he’s itching to have will leave me feeling guilty and miserable, I owe him this much. “Cecily,” I say. “Mm?” she says, and crumbs fall from her lips. “Leave us alone for a few minutes.” She glances at Linden, who looks at her and doesn’t object, and then back to me. “Fine,” she sighs. “I have to pee anyway.” After she leaves, closing the door behind her, Linden shuts his notebook. “Thanks,” he says. I push myself upright, smooth the sheets over my thighs, and nod, avoiding his eyes. “What is it?” I ask. “They’re letting you out tomorrow,” he says, taking the seat by my bed. “Do you have any sort of plan?” “I was never good at plans,” I say. “But I’ll figure it out.” “How will you find your brother?” he says. “Rhode Island is hundreds of miles away.” “One thousand three hundred miles,” I say. “Roughly. I’ve been reading up on it.” He frowns. “You’re still recovering,” he says. “You should rest for a few days.” “I might as well get moving.” I close the atlas. “I have nowhere else to go.” “You know that isn’t true,” he says. “You have a—” He hesitates. “A place to stay.” He was going to say “home.” I don’t answer, and the silence is filled with all the things Linden wants to say. Phantom words, ghosts that haunt the pieces of dust swimming in beams of light. “Or,” he starts up again. “There is another option. My uncle.” That gets me to look at him, maybe too inquisitively, because he seems amused. “My father disowned him years ago, when I was very young,” he says. “I’m supposed to pretend he doesn’t exist, but he doesn’t live far from here.” “He’s your father’s brother?” I say, skeptical. “Just think about it,” Linden says. “He’s a little strange, but Rose liked him.” He says that last part with a laugh, and his cheeks light up with pink, and I strangely feel better. “She met him?” I ask. “Just once,” Linden says. “We were on our way to a party, and she leaned over the driver’s seat and said, ‘I’m sick of these boring things. Take us anywhere else.’ So I gave the driver my uncle’s address, and we spent the evening there, eating the worst coffee crumb cake we’d ever tasted.” It’s the first time since her death that he’s brought up Rose without wincing at the pain. “And the fact that my father hates him just made my uncle that much more appealing to her,” Linden goes on. “He’s too pro-naturalism for my father’s taste, and admittedly a little strange. I’ve had to keep it a secret that I visit with him.” Linden has a rebellious side. Who knew. He reaches out and tucks my hair behind my ear. It’s done out of habit, and he jerks his hand back when he realizes his mistake. “Sorry,” he mumbles. “It’s all right,” I say. “I’ll think about it.” My words are coming out fast, bumbling. “What you said— I mean— I’ll think about it.”