I had a hard time finishing XVI. I'm not quite sure what I expected exactly. Some icky scenes - given the premise that guys were pretty much able to do what they wanted to girls. Sixteen year old rape victims never stood a chance in court, the father of a baby decided whether it was going to be born, etc. I don't know what made it so hard for me to finish this book. Maybe it's the somewhat shady world building, but I guess it is because I couldn't connect with the characters. I just didn't care whether Ed got to Nina or what "the brutal strike" does to her.
Everything is confusing; the media seems to "rule" the world and there are colonies on Mars and the Moon and so on. But there are rebels on Earth called Non-Cons. For whatever reason people decided men were in charge of everything, especially who they had sex with (against the woman's will more often than not) but they could also take guardianship of their illegitimate kids (especially girls) and turn them into what is called a Cinderella girl - basically a servant.
So there are a lot of very interesting concepts. I don't think I have ever read a YA book with such a controversial topic - sex is barely a side plot if it's mentioned at all - but here it is quite important. However, all the plot elements and world building don't really go well together. I think a little more cohesion or explanation would have done a great deal here.
XVI might also suffer from a slight case of Insta-Love: Sal (the boy from the blurb) is rescued by Nina when people are beating him up. Call me uncaring but I would bet money on the fact that if I were walking somewhere and saw grown men beating up a homeless guy I would most likely call the police and not rush in to save the day. Scaring them away was in itself pretty illogical. If those guys had no qualms beating up a homeless guy, why would they shy away from a girl they could potentially rape as well?
I guess I'm going to check out Truth, the sequel to XVI but I'm not sure when that will be. My to read-list is swamped as it is but should there be a few slow months sometime, Truth will be read then - just to see if Karr can take the premise of this book further and make me understand her world better.