October Discussion: Delirium

bookcover_home_delirium

So.

Delirium.

What did you guys think?

I’ll admit, it took me a while to get into it. I don’t know if it was the pressure of knowing that you guys were waiting for me to be done, or that it took me so long to even start (because I forgot it at home when we went to Europe), or if I just didn’t like the book, but I really struggled! (Confession: I’m still not quuuuuuite done. But almost! I wanted to get this up for you guys sooner rather than later. Forgive me?)

  • One of the key things in dystopic fiction is believable world-building. Especially when something like alternative science is involved. I think Lauren Oliver did a relatively good job with this aspect of the book; the procedure made me think of a lobotomy, and I wonder if she drew inspiration from that at all. The hard part with a concept like hers, though, is that you must then account for every way that the thing you have removed touches society. For example, the whole point of music is to make us feel something. If there is outlawed music, it is because that music is designed to touch something inside of people. Why wouldn’t they simply ban music altogether then? Wouldn’t other music, even “sanitized” and approved music, be kind of like a gateway drug? For the same reason, why would they even encourage or allow friendships?
  • Along the same lines, it seems crazy to me that society would still be centered around a nuclear family. If, as was outright stated, people didn’t even feel love towards their children, wouldn’t it have made as much sense, or more, even, to have people procreate and then have the state raise all the children in some sort of segregated institution, where they could have everyone under surveillance and government control at all times?
  • Why do so many authors feel the need to assert that their main character is average? “Oh I’m so totally normal and average and nothing special and everyone is prettier than me.” Is it to make them more relatable? Because I don’t find that relatable, I mostly find it annoying. I recognize that many people feel that way (I know I have), but having it constantly shoved in my face, against much evidence to the contrary, is more frustrating than relatable.
  • I really liked the way she drew the beginnings of Lena’s relationship with Alex. It was like every time I’ve ever fallen in love, too, and seemed so real. It rarely if ever made me roll my eyes.
  • Hana was a nice foil for Lena, originally flirting with sympathizing and rebellion, but ultimately (presumably) settling for the life that was prescribed for her while Lena, who was always the one determined to follow all the rules, who was actively looking forward to being cured, ends up falling off the deep end. Nicely done.

I can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say about the book! You can participate in the discussion in the comments here, or over in the Young Adulters forum on the blog (you’ll have to sign up if you haven’t already). 🙂 Do you think you will go on to read the rest of the trilogy?

See you here in two days for the announcement of our November book selection! Have you voted yet?

October Discussion: Delirium

Book of the Month: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

beforeifall

I chose this book entirely by accident: I needed something to read on the plane home from Vegas, and this was the first e-book available from my library that I vaguely recognized. Boom, done.

And then I read it, and it decimated my world, guys. (In the best way possible.)

Before I Fall is great for a number of reasons.

  1. It follows the Groundhog’s Day formula without feeling tired or forced. It really works, mostly because no two days feel the same. There is very little non-essential overlap.
  2. The main characters are all complicated, not-entirely-likeable girls. I liked that these girls were allowed to be human beings who were often terrible, but sometimes not, who were regular high school girls who could be wonderful to each other and awful to others, and vice versa, just as easily as breathing. We give a lot of leeway to male anti-heroes but very little to females, which is lame. Unlikeable characters are often the most interesting. I did not like Lindsay at all, but she was certainly the member of the gang who intrigued me the most.
  3. The main characters are all best friends, and the story is about their friendship more than anything, a friendship which is real and dynamic and layered.
  4. The pain of reading it, knowing that there is no way out. That, no matter how many times she Groundhog Days it up, there is no real waking up for Sam. It lends the story an emotional depth that resonated strongly with me.
  5. Sam goes through a strong, believable character arc is the story progresses, going from spoiled, bratty, awfulness to someone with a little bit more awareness and compassion for the people around her. She is certainly no saint by the time the story winds down, but she is markedly different than when we began. It is quite rewarding.

This is quality fiction, y’all. It baffles me how people continue to discount young adult fiction. I find most of the stories I love the most are young adult.

This is where it’s at. 

 

Book of the Month: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver