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Dystopia

    Review: Wither

    Wither is the debut young adult novel for author Lauren DeStefano, and the first book in the Chemical Garden trilogy.

    It will be released on March 22, 2011 in the U.S. in hardcover and eBook formats and is available for pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 368 pages.

    Wither is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com. It is one of my original twelve picks.

    Goodreads description:

    What if you knew exactly when you would die?

    Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

    When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

    But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

    ***

    The world has grown very small. What was once a planet that was filled with different sights and sounds and experiences, has been reduced to what can be found on just one continent. And a world once occupied by people of all ages has now been virtually emptied of all but the young, where only a small percentage of those above age twenty-five remain.

    The third world war cleared the planet of most of its inhabitants and livable spaces. Genetic manipulation took care of the rest. Now, the lifespan of a man is just twenty-five years and that of a woman only twenty.

    In this harsh new landscape the Gatherers are hired by the wealthy to search for young girls that can be taken against their will and forced into marriage in order to bear as many children as possible to keep the population from extinction while scientists search for a cure.

    Rhine Ellery had tried to take all precautions against capture. Her twin brother Rowan would kill to keep her safe. But when money runs tight, just the one mistake lands her in the back of a van with a group of girls headed to an unknown destination to one of any number of undesirable fates – chosen to be one of a wealthy man’s wives, rejected and sold into prostitution, or executed.

    Some might consider forced marriage a small price to pay for living a life of luxury and being waited on hand and foot, especially given the alternatives. But for Rhine, living in a cage, no matter how luxurious, is not how she wants to spend her last four years. Her only goal is to return to her brother, to her home. And regain her freedom.

    ***

    Wither is an exquisitely beautiful, melodic and gracefully told story. The futuristic world that the author has created is permeated with an air of melancholy, as all those born have just twenty to twenty-five years to live an entire lifetime of experiences.

    In this bleak future, by the time a girl reaches the age of sixteen she’s nearing the end of her life. Rarely do parents get more than a year or two with their children – orphanages are teeming with children whose parents have died. And the likelihood of being forced into marriage is high for girls like Rhine.

    Rhine Ellery and her brother Rowan have managed to survive together after the death of their parents. But when Rhine is taken by the Gatherers and chosen to become one of three new wives for Linden Ashby she has no way of letting her twin know what has happened.

    Wither is the story of her journey as she learns just how important freedom and choice are to her, even when her only hope for freedom just might be in death. She must decide whether choosing to live a lie in order to protect her sister wives is worth giving up everything, including her future with Gabriel – the only one she felt close enough to share all her secrets with – and her chance to return home to her brother Rowan.

    Author Lauren DeStefano has written a richly textured story that is moving and heartbreaking and heartwarming, with passages that are simply poetic. The elegance and cadence of her writing make this story just float across the pages even though the subject matter is often in direct contrast – at times grave or dark.

    The dystopian society created in the story is not one out in left-field and can very easily be envisioned as one of our possible futures. Rhine is a strong female lead character who is also caring, sympathetic and nurturing. And even amidst the glitz and glam of her new surroundings, she can still keep her focus on what is most important to her.

    This story is unquestionably a must read for fans of dystopian novels, stories that will make you think, and ones that are elegant and beautiful and tragic.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I have been putting off reading this story for a while now. Big mistake. I had been reading a number of dystopian novels and just wanted to take a break before starting yet another one.

    But with the impending release, I knew that it was now or never. And I am so happy I chose “now.”

    I am totally in love with this story, the world and the characters. (Well, the good guys anyway.) And from what I understand this is a trilogy, so I am now completely desperate to read the next book!

    I spent much of the read worrying about just how devastating things were going to get and whether or not I would end up sobbing my way through the last part of the book.

    I may not have sobbed but my heart did break, and yes, there were tears.

    And at the end I was left feeling so sorry for so many of the characters. I promise, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is definitely happiness in this book, but there is always a twinge of sadness to go along with.

    Some may say that this reminds them of The Handmaid’s Tale. I can sort of see that, but to me Wither reads nothing like that book, which I did not give five stars to. (Though the whole required reading thing may have jaded my view of that book.) But regardless, I definitely preferred author Lauren DeStefano’s characters and found her style of writing way more enjoyable.

    Here are just a few of the exquisite passages from the eARC of Wither:

    Eventually I realize that I am holding on to him just as tightly as he holds on to me. And here we are: two small dying things, as the world ends around us like falling autumn leaves.

    ***

    The room is colder, and the nightmare is growing into so much more than I thought it could be. It only gets worse in this mansion of sweet smells and extra bright gardens. I think of the gunshots that have haunted me since I arrived.

    ***

    She takes my hand, and it’s small and warm. A child’s hand. She was so eager to abandon her youth, in this world that has stolen the luxury of time, and I wonder who she would have been if only she could have had more years to live.

    ***

    To read an excerpt from chapter one on the publisher’s website, click here.

    UPDATE: Book trailer for Wither:

    This review is based on an eARC I received as part of Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.

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    Review: Outside In

    Outside In is the second book in the Inside Out series by author Maria V. Snyder. Although publication date is listed in the U.S. as February 15, 2011, it is now available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback format.

    It is available for pre-order in eBook format at Barnes & Noble for a March 1, 2011 release date.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the paperback is 336 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there’s more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion – between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled.

    Because of me, we’re free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again – while still touching base with Riley, of course. He’s the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there’s outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.

    ***

    Outside. There really is an Outside. The Gateway’s existence is no longer a myth. We proved it. But Outside right now is not at all like the pictures of the green carpeted blue skied world we saw in the computer files. The Outside we hoped to find is still thousands of centiweeks away. Lifetimes away. So far away that none of us will see it.

    So, for now it’s still just Inside. But Inside is much bigger than we thought. There is no more need for the uppers and lowers to be crowded on just four levels. And so we build. Because once we have space there will be no more reason for the scrubs and the uppers to be separate. Differences won’t matter when we’re all treated the same. Right?

    The freedom that the Force of Sheep fought so hard for in the rebellion hasn’t exactly been simple. Walking away from the responsibilities of leadership probably wasn’t the best bet for the head of the rebellion. And leaving the decisions up to the Committee got us nowhere.

    The uppers and lowers are still suspicious of one another. And without the fear of punishment from the Pop Cops not only is the work that needs to be done not getting done, now there are acts of sabotage to further complicate matters.

    So we spy. Just like we did against the Trava. And we enforce order. Don’t work, don’t eat. Instead of Pop Cops we have the Mop Cops. And we become nearly as bad as the former rulers. But without any real fear of punishment our leadership is a joke.

    And this dissension gives those Outside the perfect opportunity to come in.

    ***

    Outside In is the fast-paced, action and tension-filled sequel to Inside Out. It continues the story shortly after the first book ends. A committee has been created comprised of both uppers and scrubs to try and establish a new way of doing things and to develop the previously unknown space above Level Four.

    Trella, the leader of the rebellion has opted to take a minor role in how things are being handled now that everything is beginning to settle down, preferring to leave the difficult decisions to those she thinks are better equipped to handle them.

    As with any newly formed society without proper leadership, things quickly devolve – progress is no longer being made, the formerly oppressed still feel put upon and chaos ensues. But when there is a threat from Outside, will those Inside join together to stand as one or will the dissatisfied lowers band together with the Outsiders to unseat the new leaders of the Inside?

    For the greater part of Outside In, Trella struggles with notion that she could be a leader and refuses to step up into that role angering those close to her and letting down the people that she had previously worked so hard to save.

    A reluctant hero in the first book, she chooses instead to let others make the decisions even when she sees better ways of doing things. And in this second book, Trella, while just as stubborn is even more untrusting than before and much more indecisive. It is only when she has lost everything and those she cares for are in danger that she becomes the leader she should have been all along.

    Author Maria V. Snyder has once again created a thrilling story about the people of Inside and their struggles with accepting the new order. This sequel has a lot more action than the first, with an even more complicated puzzle to solve.

    Instead of simply continuing the story with a new adventure and mystery, the author also delves into the very real problems that arise in a newly formed society in the aftermath of a rebellion. The pace continues to build throughout this story until its climactic conclusion, but the ending feels slightly rushed, leaving a few loose ends.

    Outside In can be read without having read the first book, although it is not recommended. To get a better understanding of who Trella is, how much things have changed and just what the world for those Inside is like, it is necessary to have read Inside Out.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=4]

    On a personal note:

    The two books in the series have been the perfect back-to-back reads. I am so glad I discovered this wonderful author and series. If it hadn’t been for NetGalley I might have missed out on something pretty terrific.

    I’ve seen Inside Out on Amazon and had added it to my wish list but the description just didn’t grab me and so it remained in my future TBR pile.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Outside In, but Inside Out still remains my favorite of the two. There is just something about the slower pace and crawling around the hidden spaces of Inside with Trella that is just so different and appeals to me far more.

    I also missed a few of the characters from the first book who played less of a role here, like Jacy and even Karla Trava, and of course would have loved to see more Riley.

    But, I was completely hooked by Outside In from the very beginning and there was just so much action that I could not put this book down.

    I’m not sure if this is the last book of the series – the end does feel like a series conclusion – but I would love to see Trella, Sheepy, Zippy and the rest of the Insiders again.

    ***

    To read an excerpt from the author’s website, click here.

    If you’d like to see a picture of Sheepy and Mama Sheepy from the author’s website, click here and scroll down.

    If you’d like to read my review of the first book in the series, Inside Out, click here.

    Thank you Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley for the review copy.

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    Review: Inside Out

    Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder is the first book in a series of the same name. Released on April 1, 2010 in the U.S., it is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and eBook formats.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN the paperback edition is 384 pages.

     

    Goodreads description:

    Keep Your Head Down.

    Don’t Get Noticed.

    Or Else.

    I’m Trella. I’m a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I’ve got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

    Inside. For the scrubs Inside is always crowded. Always noisy. Never a moment’s peace. Never a chance to be alone. Never a chance to think.

    Work ten hours, rest ten hours. In shifts. Week after week. From the fourteenth centiweek on. Do your job. Hope for nothing.

    Trella refused to hope and was quick to dismiss the prophets who tried to instill it. What was the point? She practically knew every inch of Inside. She wasn’t called Queen of the Pipes for nothing. Inside was everything. There was nothing more.

    To escape the crowds, smells and noises that were ever present in the lower levels, she would hide in the ducts and spaces in-between. What might have been claustrophobic for some was an escape for her.

    And the brief glimpses she had of the upper levels made her long for that much open space. So when a prophet finally appeared who claimed to have proof of the Gateway to Outside, a reluctant spark of curiosity and hope finally broke through the metal layer Trella kept around her heart.

    And that changed everything. Something was set into motion that couldn’t be stopped and Trella would have to risk everything she had – her friend, her life and the others who would put their safety on the line for her – to get the answer to whether Outside was more than a myth.

    ***

    Inside Out is a highly imaginative and well-constructed dystopian novel. The detail the author used in creating the world of Inside is phenomenal. Readers will be able to visualize every inch of Inside that Trella has explored, feel the press of the crowds in those two dreadful levels which contain the scrubs and get a true sense of what life is like for those kept in ignorance and without hope.

    Trella isn’t your typical hero, but she is tough, independent, honorable and most of all loyal. She is willing to sacrifice herself to save her only friend and put her life on the line for someone else’s beliefs.

    The pace in Inside Out is not quick, but there is a goal, a purpose and a number of puzzles to solve. And the tension that builds will keep you on the edge throughout.

    While this does have a somewhat Science Fiction feel to the story, it is also a wonderful study of human behavior for people who are kept under firm control, with strict schedules, no personal freedoms, separated into a classist system and left in the dark about the past and without vital pieces of information.

    Inside Out will show you just how much people can surprise you. This book, and series, is a must read for those who enjoy stories where the underdog fights the system, David battles Goliath and where one person can make a difference. And yes, there is a bit of humor and a little romance thrown in to round this out nicely.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I did not expect to like this book nearly as much as I did. I don’t consider myself a dystopian novel junkie or even someone into Sci-Fi so this came as a huge surprise.

    For the first seventeen pages I just wasn’t sure. As a very visual thinker I found it a bit tough initially to picture the world of Inside and it felt very much more Science Fiction-y than I originally anticipated during this initial introduction. But I knew I liked the author’s writing style so I kept on.

    By page eighteen I was completely hooked. This book is totally the type of movie I would love but not typically a book I would pick up off the shelves, but as I continued to read on, I became a fan. (And yes, this would make the coolest of movies! I would pay my $17.50 per ticket to see this in 3-D.)

    Although I did find myself gasping for air as Trella climbed through those ducts and vents, slept in those tiny rooms packed with other people, crowded into those hundred hour assemblies, just imagining life in such confined space.

    This was such an exciting adventure to be on with Trella, Cog, Riley, Logan and the Broken Man. And now I cannot wait to start reading Outside In as there is just so much possibility that awaits.

    ***

    How I “discovered” this book:

    Inside Out is a “Just Discovered” just learned about book.

    When I first became a member of NetGalley I got approved for an eARC of Outside In. I knew I wanted to read and review it because I had heard such great things about the author although I hadn’t yet read anything by her.

    At the time I knew it was the second book in a series but I thought I might just try to read the book without reading book one, then at some point decided it wasn’t in my best interest and also wasn’t the best way to review a book.

    So, I purchased Inside Out with the plan of reading it well prior to release of book two and reviewing both books. However, time seems to have slipped away and so now, it is less than one week from release of Outside In so I have a bit of catching up to do.

    My plan is to read and review both books back-to-back and hopefully do justice to both.

    ***

    To read an excerpt from Inside Out from the author’s website, click here.

    To read an excerpt of Outside In, the next book in the series, due out on February 15, 2011 in the U.S. in paperback format, click here.

    Book trailer for Inside Out:

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    Review: XVI

    XVI is the debut novel for author Julia Karr. It was released on January 6, 2011 in paperback and eBook formats. It is available online and in stores and can be purchased in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    XVI is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

    Goodreads description:

    Nina Oberon’s life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she’ll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI.

    Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a “sex-teen” is Nina’s worst fear.

    That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina’s mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother’s killer.

    The year is 2150. And in this not so distant future, the Governing Council makes all the rules. Including the one that mandates that all girls upon turning sixteen receive a tattoo identifying their age and signifying that they are ready, willing and able to have sex.

    Most girls buy into the Media hype that turning sex-teen is “ultra.” It’s hard not to when the Media, from an early age, bombards them with the message that they want to be surrounded by boys who desire them and that having this tattoo equals freedom.

    Most girls cannot wait for their tattoo to proudly display the fact that they are of legal age. Not Nina Oberon. Not only does she not want to be branded, she doesn’t even want to have sex. And the idea of being marked does not make her feel even remotely close to free.

    When Nina’s mother is stabbed and left for dead, she questions whether the attack was random. And when she finds out that her mother has been keeping secrets, Nina is dead set on finding answers.

    In a society where your every move is tracked, your conversations monitored and free thinking is not allowed, searching for answers can be risky, even deadly. And as Nina uncovers truths that her mother has kept hidden from her, will they put her in even more jeopardy?

    ***

    XVI is author Julia Karr’s debut novel of a dystopian society set in 2150. Although futuristic, it is not outlandish to think that with the natural progression of our current society that the vision of the future the author created is a very real possibility.

    In XVI, government control has escalated, class systems or “tiers” have been set up as yet another form of regulation, the Media has gotten much more powerful and influential, freedom of thought is discouraged and girls are being treated as second-class citizens while athletes are treated like royalty. Very believable and all within the realm of possibility.

    XVI is an engaging, effortless and often humorous read. There are a number of original ideas, but it is the characters in this story that distinguish it from other books in the genre.

    The three female main characters have very diverse personalities that work well in this story – Sandy, the media-seduced, flighty sex-teen on one end of the spectrum, and Wei, strong, independent and free-spirited on the other, with Nina, our heroine, somewhere in between, creating the balance.

    Nina’s mother Ginnie, while not present for most of the story, has great presence throughout. We see her character through Nina’s eyes as she looks for answers and in Nina herself as she has been raised to not take everything at face value and to think for herself.

    Add in the rebellious Sal, Nina’s lovable grandmother and her cantankerous grandfather, and you have a wonderful new set of characters to fall in love with.

    This story does not end in a cliffhanger, but there are so very many questions left to be answered in the sequel.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I wanted to read it for awhile (and not simply because I needed to read a story beginning with the letter X to add to my reviews page). But I actually surprised myself when reading this, because I never usually want more information from a dystopian novel.

    In the very few dystopian books I’ve read, either the author will give a tremendous amount of detail about the society created so that I have no questions, or I just don’t care enough to want to know more.

    Here, I definitely want to know more. More about how the society evolved from our current one to that future one. More about the NonCons. More about the FeLS. And more about what life is really like for sex-teens. I await the sequel to see if some of these questions have answers.

    And, I can’t judge this book based on other stories in the genre as I haven’t read enough to compare, but this was nothing like any other book I’ve read, so to me it was most definitely original.

    The end caught me by surprise. I did not anticipate certain events, which is always a plus for me. And I liked the fact that we weren’t left completely on edge for a change. I definitely can’t wait for the next book, but at least I don’t have to stalk the Internet looking for sneak peeks.

    The only thing I would have changed in this story, because I’m a numbers nut and I think it would have been cool, is to have had something really shocking happen in chapter XVI, especially since they use roman numerals for the chapters.

    One quirky question I have, which I’m not sure will be answered in the next book is: What is so fascinating with the zoo? The characters go to the zoo more frequently than people their age today do. Is there some serenity they find at the zoo or is it simply something they can do cheaply?

    ***

    A sneak peek of chapter one is available on the author’s website.

    Currently in the works are the sequel to XVI whose working title is The Sisterhood and a spinoff whose working title is Cinderella Girl.

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    Book Watch: XVI

    XVI by author Julia Karr is available for pre-order online and will be released on January 6, 2011 in paperback and eBook formats. A sneak peek of chapter one is available on the author’s website.

    In keeping with today’s theme of dystopian society novels, I thought I’d post my Book Watch for this book a day early.

    This book looks to be a dark and disturbing novel and a perfect way to start off reading in the new year.

    Goodreads description:

    Nina Oberon’s life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she’ll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI.

    Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a “sex-teen” is Nina’s worst fear.

    That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina’s mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother’s killer.

    Currently in the works are the sequel to XVI whose working title is The Sisterhood and a spinoff whose working title is Cinderella Girl.

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    Review: Delirium

    Delirium by Lauren Oliver (author of Before I Fall) will be released in hard cover and eBook formats on February 1, 2011.

    Goodreads description:

    Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

    But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

    Magdalena “Lena” Haloway Tiddle exists in a future where on your eighteenth birthday you have a procedure that will cure you from contracting the disease amor deliria nervosa – “the deadliest of all deadly things.”

    Although most people are cured when they turn eighteen, the disease can still get you before then and so every precaution is taken. There are guarded borders protecting the cured and soon-to-be-cured from the Wilds where the Invalids, those who refused the cure, exist. Conversation is monitored. Physical contact is rarely permitted. Interaction between two uncured individual of the opposite sex is not allowed. Raids are conducted to ensure adherence to the rules.

    But none of these protections are infallible. The disease can infect you beforehand and the cure doesn’t always work. Lena has been anxiously awaiting the day when she too will be cured and will no longer be at risk for infection. She had witnessed the effects of the disease on both her mother and sister and the shame it brought to her and the rest of her family.

    All she wants is to just make it through the next ninety-five days until her procedure, so she can receive her match whom she will marry upon finishing college and spend the rest of her life safe and normal. But ninety-five days is a long time, and when something goes wrong on her evaluation day it will turn her world around and make Lena question everything she’s ever believed in and everything she’s ever wanted.

    ***

    Delirium is the stunning first book in a new series by Lauren Oliver about a dystopian society in which love is considered a disease that threatens safety and stability and the only hope to stop the infection is to undergo the cure – a procedure administered at age eighteen.

    Delirium has such sophistication, eloquence and beauty in the writing that it rivals novels like White Oleander aimed at an adult audience. The story is hypnotic and you will get caught up and lost in the fluidity of the words and the breathtaking imagery.

    This is not a quick or light read and there is not a lot of dialogue in this book. There are many ideas that need to be absorbed, but nothing that feels extraneous. Every word and every idea has meaning. Even the book’s concept alone is fascinating – just taking love out of the equation could make for a more peaceful society.

    Lauren Oliver is an insanely good writer with an extraordinary imagination. There is such a level of detail put into this story, from the passages that introduce each chapter, to all the elements that had to be included to look at this “problem” from all angles, to taking the character from acceptance of society to her disdain for it.

    Ms. Oliver did not create a cute story with characters that were instantly lovable going on wacky adventures. Throughout there is an undercurrent of bleakness and desolation. While this is a story of a futuristic fictional society, the ideas were very real and were well thought out and expressed.

    There are simply no words to describe how amazing and powerful this story is. No words.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=6] – and yes that’s 6. Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

    On a personal note:

    Delirium has to be the best written young adult book I think I’ve ever read. (And I’ve read a lot of YA books.)

    It has taken me a few days to write this review because after reading the book I was left speechless and a bit daunted at writing a review for such a stellar book. Perhaps if I was a writer even one-one-hundredth as talented as Lauren Oliver I could have come up with something brilliant. Alas…

    I am not an avid reader of books set in futuristic dystopian societies. In this genre I’ve only read Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series and maybe a Stephen King or two. I haven’t even read the Hunger Games books. (Shame on me.) But, as I had recently read Before I Fall I knew that I loved Lauren Oliver’s writing style and the dark and heartbreaking ending of that story, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read this one.

    I don’t know what it is about her writing, but I just keep getting drawn further and further into the story, even when I know there may not be a happy ending and even when I know I might just be devastated at the end. Perhaps it’s passages like these:

    Everything else—every single second of every single day that has come before this very moment, this kiss—has meant nothing.

    I know that life isn’t life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point—the only point—is to find the things that matter, and hold on to them, and fight for them, and refuse to let them go.

    If I wrote down all the unbelievably awesome and memorable sections from this book I’d practically be posting the whole story here and that is a definite no-no, what with copyright infringement and all.

    This is an emphatic “must read” with Kleenex at the ready.

    To read an excerpt from HarperTeen click here.

    Pandemonium, book two in the series will be released in 2012 and Requiem, the third book in the series is slated for 2013.

    Thank you HarperTeen and NetGalley for the review copy.

    Author Lauren Oliver talks about Delirium:

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