Review: Deliver Me by Kate Jarvik Birch

Deliver Me coverAll their lives, Wynne and Odessa have dreamed of being Carriers, the pampered women chosen to carry children for the Union. All their lives they have planned what they will do when they are Carriers together. And just as they’ve planned, Odessa is chosen to be a Carrier.

Wynne is not.

As Wynne settles in to her new job as a delivery assistant, helping the Carriers deliver their babies, she slowly comes to realize the painful costs  the Carriers pay for their pampered status. But it is only when she is sent to be Odessa’s servant that she understands how horrible the life of a Carrier truly is.

Deliver Me will face inevitable comparisons to Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, but Birch has created a fully realized, original dystopian world. Although at first it seemed that this was yet another book where “oppression of women for no reason” is shorthand for “the government/other authority is obviously evil” (an excellent blog post on this can be found here), the author created internally consistent reasons for the use of Carriers to bear children.

As a mother, and someone who has recently given birth, there were some scenes that were particularly emotionally wrenching, but teens will probably not have a similar reaction. The only real issue with this book was that there were many things that we just never learned about how the Union worked and the world in which Wynne lived, but that was internally consistent with how sheltered Wynne’s existence was.

Deliver Me will appeal to fans of Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy and Lois Lowry’s The Giver, as well as those who enjoyed pondering the ethical issues raised by Neal Shusterman’s Unwind.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – references to rape, domestic violence, and torture.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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