Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Dystopian Young Adult
Release Date: 02/01/11
Buy the Book:
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 government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway 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.
Plot: 2 Stars
I wanted to love the idea of love being a disease. It seemed very fresh and interesting and exciting. But unfortunately, this novel lacked a lot of information about a very key element: the deliria. Most of the information given about the deliria is in bits and pieces taken from different documents. The actual disease is barely talked about as more than an idea. If it wasn't for the bits and pieces at the beginning of every chapter, I wouldn't know anything about the deliria. There was also a point in the novel in which the idea of homosexual relationships was brought up as a sort of special case, but it was never elaborated on. In a world that fears love, I think that fear should be of all love. But the idea of homosexuality was brushed under the rug, almost like the author was afraid to talk about it. I did enjoy the bits and pieces I learned about the Invalids and the Wilds because I love to root for the rebels.
Pace: 1 Stars
This was one of the slowest novels I've ever read. I could not believe that it took over one hundred pages to meet the love interest, Alex. But it wasn't just that it took so long for Lena to meet him, it was that nothing much really happened before she met him. This novel struggled in the smaller scenes between the larger, more important scenes. They were mostly spent inside Lena's head, thinking way too much about the upcoming cure. And don't even get me started on the ending. I won't spoil anything, but after investing over four hundred pages in this novel, the ending made me want to throw the book into the wall. I could not believe that was how it ended. Then I found out today that this was book one in a planned trilogy, and now I'm totally confused about where the story could possibly go.
Characters: 1.5 Stars
Lena was very wishy-washy throughout the entire novel. She see-sawed between thinking the world was good, and maybe the world wasn't as good as everyone thought. She also acted very contradictory throughout the novel. She'd often worry about saying the right thing or acting a certain way, but then she'd sneak out to see Alex all the time without a second thought. Alex, being an Invalid from the Wilds, didn't really do much to make Lena see the world in a new light. She may have been less wishy-washy if he had told her a bit more about what the Invalid and what they did. Instead, they mostly just talked about themselves and started a tentative relationship. Lena's best friend was probably my favorite character. She actually rebelled, as compared to the sorta rebelling that Lena did. She went to the parties and downloaded the illegal music. But as Lena and Alex grew closer, she grew further apart from her best friend. They were always told that they would forget about each other after they received the cure, but that's no reason to shut each other out beforehand.
Cover: 2 Stars
My biggest problem is that this cover doesn't tell you anything about the novel, and it doesn't catch the eye. The face hiding behind the text is chopped up in an awkward way that involves a second look in order to understand what the image actually is. The choice of light blue to be the rest of the cover does fit the feel of the novel in a way, but it's a way that was never explained in depth in the novel. My biggest problem is with the actual book itself. Normally, I love to take off a hardcover book's dust jacket to see what color the actual cover and text on the spine are. Instead, I was surprised (and not in a good way) by the cover having a picture of the cover model sans the overlaid title on both sides of the cover. It was really strange, something I had never come across before, and I didn't really enjoy it. I realize it's not that much different than a paperback book with a large photo of the cover model, but this was really weird.
Overall: 1.5 Stars
Disclosure: I bought this novel for my own reading pleasure.