Review: Truth (XVI #2) by Julia Kerr

Truth (XVI #2) by Julia Kerr.
(Sequel to XVI).
Published: January 19, 2012 by Speak.
299 pages.

Goodreads Summary:
Nina Oberon's life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won't be anyone's stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out . . . and the consequences can be deadly.

My Review:

My first issue with this novel is that it is labelled the "companion" novel to Kerr's novel XVI. This is absolutely a sequel, not a companion, having picked up right where XVI left off. Had I not read XVI, I would have been absolutely, hopelessly lost. As it was there were details I had forgotten which made some parts early in the novel confusing for me. Do not wait long between reading the two novels. Since neither is particularly memorable, reading this one will be difficult following a long break after the first.

The main character, Nina, seems to have almost nothing going for her. Almost everything that can go wrong in her life, does. I won't go into detail as it'd spoil it but her life is quite depressing. However I didn't feel for her as much as I would have liked to, often because of her attitude. She is constantly jealous and upset with her boyfriend, Sal, for basically everything he does, yet as soon as he returns from being away for his rebellion work, she doesn't say a word about it. I do, however, like Nina's conviction in her belief that girls and just as strong and capable as boys are (and that she was clearly labelled as being influenced by feminism. No trying to hide the fact, which was appreciated). That conviction is what leads to the one and only time she stands up against Sal (finally).

I did enjoy the character of Martin, Nina's boss at the Art institute. He seemed to be the most genuine and realistic character. He was probably my favourite, which says something about the book as he was quite a minor character. I also enjoyed how Kerr portrayed the ignorance of the upper-tiers towards the lifestyles and feelings of the lower-tiers, showing that they couldn't truly empathize with something they had never experienced.

The general society frustrated me. The "sex-teen" idea, which is that once a girl turns sixteen she gets a tattoo advertising to the world that she is legal and allows men to prey on the girls with tattoos without any consequences for them; while in no way appealing, is not a terrible one for the basis of a novel (although it is not really the basis of this one; it just seems to really come up when convenient). However, the fact that the entire society takes zero action against anyone assaulting (or worse) young "sex-teens" because of their age is utterly repulsive. Another aspect that bothered me was that the term "sex-teen" wasn't just a nickname the teens had for it, it was what the president of the "Governing Council" referred to them as in a news interview. Hearing the president-figure call teenage girls "sex-teens" is pretty disgusting. The majority of the culture of the novel was something I had trouble getting past.

Kerr's foreshadowing is in no way subtle. It was not difficult to call what was going to happen before it did, which made the novel lack the intrigue and interest-piquing qualities it needed. Miss Maldovar's character, for example, was too obvious. The clear clues about something being off made me speculate wildly throughout the novel, which made the big reveal about her at the end very unsurprising and anti-climactic. I also wish she had chosen a different word for the vehicles than "trannie". There MUST have been something better she could have used. Which leads to my mixed feelings about the vocabulary used in the novel. While there were some sophisticated words that sixteen year-olds often wouldn't use, they were mixed in amongst awful "future" teen slang that almost made me ashamed to be a teenager. Even more unfortunate: it's not very different from the teen "future slang" other authors today are using. That left me disappointed.

The ending was also disappointing. Again, I will not spoil anything except for the fact that it left hanging just about every loose end possible. One situation that annoyed me throughout the book with a girl name Paulette was never tied up, which made the ending very unsatisfying for me. I had figured there would be some sort of resolution. I guess this means there will likely be a third book in the series, but I'll only be reading it if I'm really desperate for something to read.

All in all, I had hoped for more from this novel, therefore:
2 Stars.


  1. Sad when you don't like the book, huh? I feel like I'm letting down the author. But such is life and honesty=) I'd much rather be honest! Also that's a major miss, labeling this novel as a companion when it clearly was not. Good to know=)

    1. It's pretty disappointing, and I definitely feel like I'm letting her down a bit but this really didn't work for me. Maybe someone else would enjoy it better, but there are some things I don't like in novels and this hit a lot of them. I agree that it's better to be honest though! :)

  2. Hmmm, it's been so long since I've read XVI!!! I can't remember much of it, but I do know that it was just like most dystopian novels are - which really bothers me. I know that the problem with dystopian novels is going to be the government and propaganda, but I wish there were a little more diversity. And I absolute hate when foreshadowing isn't subtle! I like being surprised - but the sad thing is, it rarely happens! Booo, sequel slumps :(

    Great review!

    1. It was... yeah. Not what I wanted from it at all. I agree that we could use more dystopians that aren't just government based, or at least formulated differently. It was unfortunate, for sure.
      Thank you!


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