Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You MUST Read This Book (And If I Was The Totalitarian Government In A Dystopian Novel, I'd Force You To)

" "There was an...incident at her evaluation," he says, his voice icy. He and the guard are both staring at me.  ... "Nothing too severe. But her parents and my superiors thought she might benefit from a little reminder of the dangers of disobediance."

The guard flicks his eyes over me. ... "What kind of incident," he says...

He drops his voice, but I can still hear him. "Her favorite color is the color of sunrise." "
~ Delirium by Lauren Oliver

There are books that you read for enjoyment. Books that you like, would recommend, but maybe made you wish for a little bit more than they could give. There are books that you fall in love with. Books you can't put down. That make your heart beat faster. That make you smile at the end, even if the smile comes after you've finished crying, because the ending is what you somehow knew would need to happen all along. And then there are books that inspire. Books that move you. Books that take you to places you've never been, and by God, you want to go there. Books that, when you're not quickly but thoroughly reading through their pages, fill your mind with questions and make you crave answers. I don't come across this last type of book too often, one of the many aspects of its beauty, but I found it recently in Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

Delirium is a refleshingly raw and realistic young adult dystopian novel about a world where love is a sickness, amor delira nervosa, and all people must be cured. The necessary surgery is a gift for each child's eighteenth birthday. They get the joy of being cured. Of being free from the pain and instability that the delirium causes. But nothing could ever be so perfect, because Lena, prepared to be cured in just a few months, has discovered love. And that's...well...that's a bigger problem than you could ever imagine.

Those of you who've read my other reviews know I tend to be quite critical. As a writer, I've come to expect more. I want a book that makes me think and feel. That makes me question and makes me feel like, in the end, I could hold the answers.

For the first fifty or so pages, I'll admit, I was hard to sway. Sorry Lauren, but I just spent a week editing my novel for passive voice, and you have so damn much of it in the first part of your book. But then, I got to a point where I couldn't be critical anymore. I wanted to be. I so wanted to finally really dislike a book from the beginning and hate it through to the end and be able to say on my blog, "well...that was a total disappointment." But it was impossible.

Lauren Oliver's writing, as occassionally filled with passive voice that I must mentally edit as it may be, is witty and inventive. When she says "Hana's always had a thing against children. She's always saying they're too sticky and clingy, like Jolly Ranchers that have been left too long in a hot pocket," I can feel the sugery goo coating my hands, which suddenly turn in to the tiny, grabby, "gimme gimme" hands of a child. No matter how many times I started to think of questions about the plot or wonder what happened to a certain character, sure enough, she'd explain it better than I could ever have thought about five pages later. Her novel is full of twists and turns, and not all of them are fully answered--something I always prefer. The ending, I assure you, is complete magic.

For those of you that know anything about my novel, (and if you don't you should check out my back cover story AND my excerpt for the Nature of Magic blogfest), it's a dystopian, YA fiction revolving mostly around the characters discovery of self-expression and free thought in their world. So, as someone who has written a LOT about discovering, and questioning, and learning about, and fearing love over the past year and half, I feel pretty damn qualified to say that Delirium really takes the cake. I mean, it made me take out my pocket love poetry book for goodness sakes. It's THAT good. If you thought my review for Feed by Mira Grant was good, my feelings towards this one are even grander. (I know, I know, I said that Feed was "the dystopian novel you should all be reading," and I'm sorry if I confused you, but you should definately all be reading Delirium.)

Alright, I could rant for hours, but I'm going to save you from witnessing me drone on and on. Just let me know: Have you read the Delirium? Did you like the it? If you haven't read it, do you think you will?

Love always,
Gina Blechman

P.S. Hopefully you've caught on to the idea that I review books at least once or twice a week, so if there's a book you'd like me to review or if there's something you'd like me to look for or include in my reviews let me know. :-) You can look forward to a review of Across the Universe by Beth Revis sometime within the week or the very beginning of next week. (The book is due on 4/3, so I'll have to finish it by then, lol.) Then, I'm open to whatever. Even non-dystopians. So bring 'em ON!


  1. Thanks for this awesome review, Gina. I was going to comment that you
    seem to review a lot of books, but then you beat me to it by
    mentioning it in the post. Nevertheless, I'm impressed. Where do you
    find the time to read them all?

    I recently read (and reviewed) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and gave
    it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm usually quite a hard marker too, so this
    says a lot. Now I'm really excited about reading Delirium as well. :-)

  2. I was really excited about Delirium and its pretty cover is actually on my bedside table right now. I love the writing -- it's unexpectedly beautiful -- but for some reason, I can't get into it at all. I flicked through to the end and put it down for Dexter.

    I'm going to attribute it to the fact that I don't read/enjoy a lot of YA in general because as I said, the writing itself is lovely.

  3. First, the title of this post is awesome.

    Second, I'm glad that you loved delirium as much as I did! I, too, love the way oliver uses all 5 senses like with the jolly rancher hands thing.

    I just started across the universe last night..can't wait to see what you think about it!!