384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.2 in
December 6, 2011
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1442409061
ISBN - 13: 9781442409064
About the Book
At age 16, Rhine Ellery has four years to live. Thanks to a botched effort to create a perfect race, all females live to age 20 and males live to age 21. On the cusp of her 17th birthday, Rhine attempts to flee, but what she finds is a society spiraling out of control.
Read from the Book
I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids. We sleep huddled together like rats, staring out, and dream of our bodies swaying. I know when one of the girls reaches a wall. She begins to pound and scream—there’s metal in the sound—but none of us help her. We’ve gone too long without speaking, and all we do is bury ourselves more into the dark. The doors open. The light is frightening. It’s the light of the world through the birth canal, and at once the blinding tunnel that comes with death. I recoil into the blankets with the other girls in horror, not wanting to begin or end. We stumble when they let us out; we’ve forgotten how to use our legs. How long has it been—days? Hours? The big open sky waits in its usual place. I stand in line with the other girls, and men in gray coats study us. I’ve heard of this happening. Where I come from, girls have been disappearing for a long time. They disappear from their beds or from the side of the road. It happened to a girl in my neighborhood. Her whole family disappeared after that, moved away, either to find her or because they knew she would never be returned. Now it’s my turn. I know girls disappear, but any number of things could come after that. Will I become a murdered reject? Sold into prostitution? These things have happened. There’s only one other option. I could become a bride. I’ve seen them on television, reluctant yet beautiful teenage brides, on the arm of a wealthy man who is approac
From the Publisher
What if you knew exactly when you’d die? The first book of The Chemical Garden Trilogy.
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 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 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?
About the Author
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.
"This absorbing page-turner may remind some readers of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games with its fearless heroine, sinister villain, bleak landscape and poignant romance. Wither is less violent but is in many ways even more terrifying as DeStefano proves herself a master of plot, setting, character and psychological suspense." --The Buffalo News