Wither by Lauren DeStefano
(Chemical Garden)

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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 Lauren DeStefano

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Lauren DeStefano is the author of The Internment Chronicles and The Chemical Garden trilogy, which includes Wither, Fever, and Sever. She earned her BA in English with a concentration in creative writing from Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut. Visit her at LaurenDeStefano.com.
Published March 22, 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 373 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wither


Wither, the first in the Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano, is a harrowing dystopian novel delving into a time where the misadventures of science have brought about the devastation of the world.

Aug 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Wither (Chemical Garden)


Vaughn was so absolutely creepy - I thought he was probably the best written character out of the book.

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Wither (Chemical Garden)


Wither, the first book in The Chemical Garden trilogy, by Lauren DeStefano was categorized under Supernatural/Science Fiction Young Adult Literature, which was a misnomer.

Jul 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Wither (Chemical Garden)


Will Rhine get to experience love, hope and freedom before it's too late?

Sep 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Wither (Chemical Garden)

Los Angeles Times

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In this YA fiction, girls are forced into marriage and motherhood before their short lives end.

Apr 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Wither (Chemical Garden)

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