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Other titles in the Chemical Garden Trilogy series:

Chemical Garden Trilogy #01: Wither

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Chemical Garden Trilogy #01: Wither Cover

ISBN13: 9781442409064
ISBN10: 1442409061
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Excerpt

I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;we lose sense of our eyelids. We sleep huddled together andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;like rats, staring out, and dream of our bodies swaying. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;I know when one of the girls reaches a wall. She begins andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;to pound and screamand#8212;thereand#8217;s metal in the soundand#8212;but andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;none of us help her. Weand#8217;ve gone too long without speaking, andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and all we do is bury ourselves more into the dark. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The doors open. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The light is frightening. Itand#8217;s the light of the world andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;through the birth canal, and at once the blinding tunnel andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;that comes with death. I recoil into the blankets with the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;other girls in horror, not wanting to begin or end. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;We stumble when they let us out; weand#8217;ve forgotten how andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;to use our legs. How long has it beenand#8212;days? Hours? andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The big open sky waits in its usual place. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;I stand in line with the other girls, and men in gray andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;coats study us. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andnbsp; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Iand#8217;ve heard of this happening. Where I come from, andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;girls have been disappearing for a long time. They disappear andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;from their beds or from the side of the road. It happened andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;to a girl in my neighborhood. Her whole family andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;disappeared after that, moved away, either to find her or andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;because they knew she would never be returned. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Now itand#8217;s my turn. I know girls disappear, but any andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;number of things could come after that. Will I become andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;a murdered reject? Sold into prostitution? These things andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;have happened. Thereand#8217;s only one other option. I could andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;become a bride. Iand#8217;ve seen them on television, reluctant andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;yet beautiful teenage brides, on the arm of a wealthy man andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;who is approaching the lethal age of twenty-five. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The other girls never make it to the television screen. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Girls who donand#8217;t pass their inspection are shipped to a andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;brothel in the scarlet districts. Some we have found andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;murdered on the sides of roads, rotting, staring into the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;searing sun because the Gatherers couldnand#8217;t be bothered andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;to deal with them. Some girls disappear forever, and all andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;their families can do is wonder. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The girls are taken as young as thirteen, when their andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;bodies are mature enough to bear children, and the virus andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;claims every female of our generation by twenty. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Our hips are measured to determine strength, our andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;lips pried apart so the men can judge our health by our andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;teeth. One of the girls vomits. She may be the girl who andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;screamed. She wipes her mouth, trembling, terrified. I andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;stand firm, determined to be anonymous, unhelpful. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andnbsp; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;I feel too alive in this row of moribund girls with their andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;eyes half open. I sense that their hearts are barely beating, andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;while mine pounds in my chest. After so much time andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;spent riding in the darkness of the truck, we have all andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;fused together. We are one nameless thing sharing this andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;strange hell. I do not want to stand out. I do not want andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;to stand out. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;But it doesnand#8217;t matter. Someone has noticed me. A andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;man paces before the line of us. He allows us to be prodded andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;by the men in gray coats who examine us. He seems andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;thoughtful and pleased. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;His eyes green, like two exclamation marks, meet andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;mine. He smiles. Thereand#8217;s a flash of gold in his teeth, indicating andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;wealth. This is unusual, because heand#8217;s too young to andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;be losing his teeth. He keeps walking, and I stare at my andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;shoes. andlt;Iandgt;Stupid! andlt;/Iandgt;I should never have looked up. The strange andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;color of my eyes is the first thing anyone ever notices. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;He says something to the men in gray coats. They andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;look at all of us, and then they seem to be in agreement. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The man with gold teeth smiles in my direction again, andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and then heand#8217;s taken to another car that shoots up bits of andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;gravel as it backs onto the road and drives away. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The vomit girl is taken back to the truck, and a dozen andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;other girls with her; a man in a gray coat follows them andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;in. There are three of us left, the gap of the other girls andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;still between us. The men speak to one another again, andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and then to us. and#8220;Go,and#8221; they say, and we oblige. Thereand#8217;s andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;nowhere to go but the back of an open limousine parked andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;on the gravel. Weand#8217;re off the road somewhere, not far andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;from the highway. I can hear the distant sounds of traffic. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;I can see the evening city lights beginning to appear in andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;the distant purple haze. Itand#8217;s nowhere I recognize; a road andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;this desolate is far from the crowded streets back home. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Go. The two other chosen girls move before me, and andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Iand#8217;m the last to get into the limousine. Thereand#8217;s a tinted andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;glass window that separates us from the driver. Just andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;before someone shuts the door, I hear something inside andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;the van where the remaining girls were herded. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Itand#8217;s the first of what I know will be a dozen more gunshots. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;I awake in a satin bed, nauseous and pulsating with sweat. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;My first conscious movement is to push myself to the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;edge of the mattress, where I lean over and vomit onto andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;the lush red carpet. Iand#8217;m still spitting and gagging when andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;someone begins cleaning up the mess with a dishrag. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Everyone handles the sleep gas differently,and#8221; he says andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;softly. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Sleep gas?and#8221; I splutter, and before I can wipe my andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;mouth on my lacy white sleeve, he hands me a cloth napkinand#8212; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;also lush red. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;It comes out through the vents in the limo,and#8221; he says. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Itand#8217;s so you wonand#8217;t know where youand#8217;re going.and#8221; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;I remember the glass window separating us from the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;front of the car. Air tight, I assume. Vaguely I remember andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;the whooshing of air coming through vents in the walls. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;One of the other girls,and#8221; the boy says, as he sprays andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;white foam onto the spot where I vomited, and#8220;she almost andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;threw herself out the bedroom window, she was so disoriented. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The windowand#8217;s locked, of course. Shatterproof.and#8221; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Despite the awful things heand#8217;s saying, his voice is low, possibly andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;even sympathetic. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;I look over my shoulder at the window. Closed tight. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The world is bright green and blue beyond it, brighter andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;than my home, where thereand#8217;s only dirt and the remnants andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;of my motherand#8217;s garden that Iand#8217;ve failed to revive. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Somewhere down the hall a woman screams. The boy andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;tenses for a moment. Then he resumes scrubbing away andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;the foam. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;I can help,and#8221; I offer. A moment ago I didnand#8217;t feel guilty andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;about ruining anything in this place; I know Iand#8217;m here andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;against my will. But I also know this boy isnand#8217;t to blame. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;He canand#8217;t be one of the Gatherers in gray who brought andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;me hereand#8212;heand#8217;s too young, possibly my age. Maybe he andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;was also brought here against his will. I havenand#8217;t heard andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;of teenage boys disappearing, but up until fifty years andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;ago, when the virus was discovered, girls were also safe. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Everyone was safe. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;No need. Itand#8217;s all done,and#8221; he says. And when he moves andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;the rag away, thereand#8217;s not so much as a stain. He pulls a andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;handle out of the wall, and a chute opens; he tosses the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;rags into it, lets go, and the chute clamps shut. He tucks andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;the can of white foam into his apron pocket and returns andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;to what he was doing. He picks up a silver tray from andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;where heand#8217;d placed it on the floor, and brings it to my andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;night table. and#8220;If youand#8217;re feeling better, thereand#8217;s some lunch andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;for you. Nothing that will make you fall asleep again, I andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;promise.and#8221; He looks like he might smile. Just almost. But andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;he maintains a concentrated gaze as he lifts a metal lid off andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;a bowl of soup and another off a small plate of steaming andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;vegetables and mashed potatoes cradling a lake of gravy. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Iand#8217;ve been stolen, drugged, locked away in this place, yet andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Iand#8217;m being served a gourmet meal. The sentiment is so andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;vile I could almost throw up again. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;That other girland#8212;the one who tried to throw herself andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;out the windowand#8212;what happened to her?and#8221; I ask. I donand#8217;t andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;dare ask about the woman screaming down the hall. I andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;donand#8217;t want to know about her. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Sheand#8217;s calmed down some.and#8221; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;And the other girl?and#8221; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;She woke up this morning. I think the House Governor andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;took her to tour the gardens.and#8221; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;House Governor. I remember my despair and crash andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;against the pillows. House Governors own mansions. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;They purchase brides from Gatherers, who patrol the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;streets looking for ideal candidates to kidnap. The merciful andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;ones will sell the rejects into prostitution, but the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;ones I encountered herded them into the van and shot andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;them all. I heard that first gunshot over and over in my andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;medicated dreams. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;How long have I been here?and#8221; I say. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Two days,and#8221; the boy says. He hands me a steaming andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;cup, and Iand#8217;m about to refuse it when I see the tea bag andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;string dangling over the side, smell the spices. Tea. My andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;brother, Rowan, and I had it with our breakfast each andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;morning, and with dinner each night. The smell is like andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;home. My mother would hum as she waited by the stove andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;for the water to boil. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Blearily I sit up and take the tea. I hold it near my face andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and breathe the steam in through my nose. Itand#8217;s all I can andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;do not to burst into tears. The boy must sense that the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;full impact of what has happened is reaching me. He must andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;sense that Iand#8217;m on the verge of doing something dramatic andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;like crying or trying to fling myself out the window like andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;that other girl, because heand#8217;s already moving for the door. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Quietly, without looking back, he leaves me to my grief. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;But instead of tears, when I press my face against the andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;pillow, a horrible, primal scream comes out of me. Itand#8217;s andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;unlike anything I thought myself capable of. Rage, unlike andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;anything Iand#8217;ve ever known. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andnbsp;

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Sammi5_7, February 29, 2012 (view all comments by Sammi5_7)
I couldn't put the book down! I absolutely loved it! I have never read a book so breath taking,intreeging, and jaw dropping as Wither! I would read it again and again!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781442409064
Author:
Destefano, Lauren
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Author:
DeStefano, Lauren
Subject:
Situations / Death & Dying
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-Death and Dying
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Subject:
Dystopian; rhine; rine; polygamy; romance; loren destefano; lauren de Stefano; lauren distefano; lauren d Stefano; dystopian romance; kidnapping
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series:
Chemical Garden Trilogy, The
Series Volume:
1
Publication Date:
20111231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
f/c cvr (spfx: matte w/spot gloss + foil
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
from 14

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Chemical Garden Trilogy #01: Wither Used Trade Paper
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Product details 384 pages Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - English 9781442409064 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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?

"Synopsis" by , What if you knew exactly when you’d die? The first book of The Chemical Garden Trilogy is now available in paperback.

At age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years to live. Thanks to a botched effort to create a perfect race, all females live to age twenty, and males live to age twenty-five. While geneticists seek a miracle antidote, the world is crumbling: Orphans roam the streets, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and polygamy abounds.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to escape. But then her husband, Linden, exposes her to a world of wealth and decadence she never knew existed. Even if she can’t quite hate her husband, though, she knows to fear her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote and who may or may not be hoarding corpses in his basement lab. At the same time, Rhine is growing dangerously close to Gabriel, a house servant. Will she be able to escape the mansion—before her time runs out? 

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