Monday, November 5, 2018

Book Review: The XY by Virginia Bergin

The XY by Virginia Bergin book cover and review
While parts of the premise are a bit far-fetched, I did find The XY compelling and it serves to get you thinking, which is always a good thing.

The setting is a near future where there are no more males in the population.  A virulent virus killed males, and those that were able to be saved and newborn males are all kept in sanctuaries around the world. Women are the rulers and the caretakers of the earth.  Almost all countries have signed "The Global Agreements" that consist of things like rejecting all violence and vows to always all help each other.

So they live in this utopia, where there are no more wars and life is simple. I need to make a couple of somewhat negative comments before we go on.  Just because you tell people to play nice, whether they are female or not, doesn't mean that's going to happen. And also, society seemed very primitive.  I was saddened by this because, in essence, the author is saying that if there weren't any males, technology would fail and women wouldn't be able to fix it. Thirdly, an amazing amount of physical labor was done by everyone -- even small children -- and it just didn't seem like life should be that hard. There were also several things I really liked about this new society too, so I don't want to sound too harsh.

River is a teen girl who runs into an XY (a boy) who is almost dead along the road. She manages to get him to her home, and all of the women are sure he's going to die of the virus. But he doesn't.  They begin to learn that life in the sanctuaries is a living hell -- not the life that the women thought their men were being given. There are several moral dilemmas for River and her mom and granmmumma, as well as the other women of the town. They are breaking The Global Agreements, but they also are beginning to think the government is keeping secrets from them. Granmummas are the older women who still remember life before the virus. And River's Granmumma Kate is a bright spot.

Like I said, The XY left me with a lot to think about.  I think there is enough material here for a sequel, but I have no idea if it is being planned. The XY is a quick read, and even though I struggled with some of the premises, I would still recommend it to teens who are interested in futuristic stories of this type.

Published by Sourcebooks Fire, November 6, 2018
eARC obtained from Edelweiss and NetGalley
352 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I like the idea of women leading the world, but it would irk me about the lack of technology and an excess of hard physical labor. I just don't see women doing that.

    1. Note that they do have technology - even "high technology" - where/when needed.

      I believe the reason for this "lack of technology" is because the women are actually trying to save the world from global warming...

      Technology requires electrical energy and the world still gets most of its energy from the combustion of fossil fuels.

      So, motivated by The Global Agreements, it is likely a world-wide strategic choice to minimize fossil fuel consumption as much as possible as one prong of attack toward combating global warming.

  2. This definitely sounds interesting!

  3. I am about 1/5th through "The XY" aka "Who Runs the World"?, its original UK published title. This is my first YA book.

    The premise, in which the world is run by women, reminds me a bit of Naomi Alderman's excellent book "The Power" in which, ultimately, women become the dominant gender in the world.

    I was wondering though, Annette: Have you not read / reviewed "The Power"? I was looking for such a review here at your blog and did not see one.


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