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birthmarkedBirthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

Published by Roaring Brook Press (A division of Macmillon)

Pages: 368

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers Summary: IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.
Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.


“You won’t want to put this book down. When I realized I had just about fifty pages left and my eyes were bloodshot from continuous reading I knew this was great. Besides that, I also wondered…how is this going to wrap up in just fifty pages? Has anyone else ever had that happen? I remember it happening when I read The Maze Runner by James Dashner and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, but I had an idea reading them that there would be a second (and third) book. I did actually find on Caragh’s personal blog that the sequel to Birthmarked is due out next sometime next year and I cannot wait!

Birthmarked is the story of Gaia, a typical sixteen year old girl. She gardens, cleans, sews when needed, oh…and she delivers babies. Not so typical I’m thinking, but in some ways she is. Gaia struggles daily with the stares of onlookers wondering about her scar and whether she will ever find someone to love her for who she is. She cares for her parents and longs to see her brothers whom were both advanced to The Enclave shortly after their births. In her heart though, she wants nothing more than to be happy with her family, but unfortunately The Enclave has a different plan for her.

” The Enclave rules Gaia’s world. She delivers babies and the first three of the month are sent to remain within the walls for the remainder of their lives, if they choose. But when her parents are dramatically taken away on the night of her very first solo birthing she begins to question whether the intentions of The Enclave are genuine. Gaia’s world is full of opposites; heartache and happiness, hope and despair, supremacy and inferiority. The Enclave generally being the true negative to the positive reaction she is continually seeking for.

“Throughout Birthmarked Gaia’s character is what will draw you in and keep you hopeful for. O’Brien is definitely an author to watch for and I’m anxious to see how she progresses the remainder of the story. You will be drawn in from the very first chapter and won’t be able to put it down. This is exactly what readers of Dystopian fiction are looking for and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.”

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 13 and up. Due to some violence, but I honestly can’t wait to pass this one on to my own children in a “few” years.

For the Comments: Are you a fan of the newly popular “Dystopian fiction”? If so, do you have any great recommendations (besides the ones mentioned of course)?

The Hows and Whys of Cover Design – A discussion about how the book cover came to be (from the Creative Director, Ann Diebel herself), which I found really interesting considering how important the right cover can be. Myself, I’m a fan of the released cover above. My husband on the other hand wanted to read the book the second he saw me open the package with the Advanced Readers Copy. So, maybe there’s a preference based on gender? What do you think? Take a look at the article and tell me which cover you like best.

This book was provided for review by Traveling ARC Tours. Thank you!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our affiliate relationship with

15 Responses to Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

  1. Courtney says:

    I hadn’t heard of this one…sounds Very interesting. Will add to list! Love YA Dystopian!!
    .-= Courtney´s last blog ..The Importance of Characters of Truth =-.

  2. Katie says:

    Wow, Birthmarked sounds fantastic! I will have to add it to my library list.

    Along that same vein, I would definitely recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. The dystopian world that Ness created was unlike anything I’ve ever read before and the protagonist’s dog, Manchee, is still one of my most favorite fictional characters. Plus, the sequel, The Ask and the Answer, is out now!

  3. Oh wow. Sounds amazing. I can not wait to read it. Thank you for the beautiful review.

    Stop by my blog. You won something 🙂

  4. Ronnica says:

    I love dystopian, though a little leary of how much of it is these days. I was going to recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go as well. Also, Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey…dystopian done quirky.
    .-= Ronnica´s last blog ..Book Review: How to Say Goodbye in Robot =-.

  5. Adriana says:

    Birthmarked was a great book. I also had a hard time putting it down the whole story and world the author created was so unique and interesting. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the story goes. The way the cover was chosen was pretty interesting. I remember seeing the cover with the girl’s whole face and the scar on her side before. I actually really liked that one, but the final cover is just as good.

  6. NotNessie says:

    Wow! Sounds great!

    I am a big fan of dystopian fiction. You should check out The Giver by Lois Lowry.
    .-= NotNessie´s last blog ..Best Advice for New Bloggers: Part One =-.

  7. Pea says:

    Wow!! I am still in awe of the ammount of reading your are able to accomplish!! This is one I want to check out!

  8. Courtney – You will love it if you like any kind of dystopian fiction. It’s definitely one not to miss!

    Katie – Thanks for the rec! I am going to have to pick up The Knife of Never Letting Go. I have been hearing so much about it recently. It has to be great!

    Juju – Thank you for such a nice compliment! I hope you really enjoy it. And thanks again for the contest! Yay!

    Ronnica – If you like dystopian, this will be great for you. It’s extremely unique and so fast, I think you’ll really like it. Definitely going to check out Shades of Grey – thanks for the rec!

    Adriana – I completely agree…so unique! I’m torn too, I liked both covers, at least the choice was between two great ones. Thanks for the comment!

    NotNessie – Thanks! I actually reviewed The Giver quite some time ago, probably one of my first reviews in fact. I loved it! Great rec!

    Pea – You will love this book, especially with your midwife interest! And yeah, I’m not really sure how I read so much either…somehow I do. I think it’s mostly because my kids are pretty low maintenance and play on their own pretty easily. Plus I stay up late A LOT.

  9. Gina says:

    Great review! I can see this one made an impression on you (not just from the speed reading aspect either) and that’s great. It’s fantastic to find a new book (or series) that can capture your mind and imagination that much. Here’s hoping the second book is just as good!
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..The Winnitok Tales: The Hunt for the Eye of Ogin by Patrick Doud =-.

    • Thank you so much! I’m definitely on pins and needles waiting to hear when the next book comes out so I can get my hands on it. I’m sure it’s going to be fantastic!

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  12. Alie P. says:

    I LOVED BIRTH MARKED!!!!! I think I found a new fav. author…… Is there a sequel?
    Pleez let there be one!

  13. Grace says:

    I loved this book. As I was reading your response I couldn’t help but notice that we had the same exact thoughts about the book. I finished Maze Runner and read Birthmarked right after it so I also noticed that book just couldn’t end in 50 pages.

  14. Hinna says:

    As a teacher I am finding that my students have a great deal of interest in Dystopian fiction. Thanks for the heads up about this book as well as The Knife of Never Letting Go. I personally loved the Hunger Games and found that it reminded me of Lord of the Flies.

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