It took me three days to finish Stephanie DeStefano’s Wither – the first book in her YA Chemical Garden Trilogy. It was that good. The second book titled Fever took me only two days to finish. It was even better.
If you haven’t read Wither yet, go get it. NOW! Because I’m going to give you spoilers.
Fever starts off with Rhine and Gabriel on the run from the Ashby mansion. Only the world outside is a far less pretty place and seemingly even more sinister than the synthetic Ashby paradise. What’s worse, not matter how far they run, Housemaster Vaughn seems to only be steps behind.
DeStefano likes to do three things in her writing that makes this trilogy so eery:
1. Describe dreams, nightmares and hallucinations with astounding imagery that will give you the ultimate heeby-jeebies.
2. The characters vomit. A lot. It will make you feel ill.
3. The adults are all crooked. With a few exceptions, the adults are most out to hurt children or use them for personal gain. In DeStefano’s YA dystopia, the adults can’t help you.
Rhine is amazingly relatable character. She’s strong and resilient but has all the believable insecurities of a girl in her early-20s. The last few chapters in this book are very, very scary. This is a YA trilogy that gets incredibly dark, dealing with the implications of involuntary marriage, unethical scientific experimentation and even childhood prostitution.
When I finished the book, I couldn’t believe the ending! I wanted to read the next book immediately. But I also really want to read it again. Like Rhine, I was so exhausted by her adventure, I felt like I had been hallucinating and vomiting with her the whole time.