Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien

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Title: Birthmarked (Birthmarked, #1)

Author: Caragh O’Brien

Published By: Roaring Brook Press (2010)

Synopsis: In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother’s footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be “advanced” into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve. Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying. (Taken from Goodreads.)


Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien was an excellent read. It was very well written, full of rich descriptions, great-structured sentences, and easy-to-love characters. The plotline was just enough action, twists, and excitement to keep me reading and I never lost interest. Unl

ike other books, this book did not appear dragged out to me. The characters were extremely well developed, and the twists and turns in the end were well written and I did not see them coming.

As a whole, however, the story was geared towards an older audience. There were a few confronting birth scenes (our main character is a midwife) that I skipped over. It was written to further drive the point, as this is a very deep book, but it was too much for me in those few scenes.

The storyline and the writing were definitely not for a young reader. The romance between Gaia and Leon was realistic though not inappropriate, and was not the focus of the story—it was more like a background thing going on (always a plus for me!).  As for the characters themselves? While they were wonderfully described and developed, at times they seemed flat and one-dimensional, and did not react enough when things are revealed. Yet, Gaia was an easy character to love.

Negative Content/Notes:

A few confronting birth scenes described in detail. I don’t recall any inappropriate romantic scenes.


I enjoyed reading this book; I’d say it’s a great dystopia with a fun plot!

Recommended to: Ages 13+.

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