by : Lauren Oliver
A story about a future where love is considered a disease, something dirty and unnatural, something to be eradicated. We meet Lena who has always been afraid that the disease runs in her blood coming from her mother who was "cured" three times, but still managed to love.
Intelligent and Interesting Heroine? CHECK
I thought Lena was awesome and interesting and brave despite her fear. She honestly reminded me a lot of me just in the way she thinks, reacts, and how she feels about certain things. I found myself reading something she thought and realizing that I've thought something really similar in a situation like the one she was in.
Sweet and Believable hero? NOPE
While I liked how sweet Alex was and how supportive he was of Lena through everything that happened, he lost points on being somewhat the stereotypical 'perfect' boy that I've noticed as something of a trend in some more recent dystopian YA (however definitely not all the boys are written like that as exampled by Divergent, The Hunger Games, and Birthmarked). I did want her to end up with him and it wasn't awful reading about him, I just thought he lacked the depth that is so easily displayed by Tobias, Peeta, and Leon in various other books.
Original Setting and Unique Plot? CHECK
A world where love is the enemy? I'd say that's pretty original and worth pondering what it would be like. The world Lauren Oliver has built is almost completely opposite of the one in which we live. In that I would say that our society's ideal is in fact, love. But, it is also much like our own in that the people living there who are willing to be 'cured' (or even longing to be cured) are not trying to live life to the fullest. At most they are trying to be 'happy' in a life of monotony and at the very least they are yearning to avoid each and every form of pain by not only ridding themselves of unpleasant things but in the process getting rid of arguably the most pleasant emotion. The result of this is that everyone ends up indifferent and apathetic.
Extraordinary Supporting Characters? CHECK
I've already said that I think I am a lot like Lena, but I'm also strangely reminded of my elementary and middle school best friend when I read about Hana. She is crazy, and charismatic, and 'perfect'. Lena and Hana's friendship is so much like our relationship that I was in shock by how perfectly and thoroughly Lauren Oliver described all the emotions and ups and downs of the friendship. They both felt like deep and totally real characters
I loved her. I was so intrigued by everything she did and how she acted. I absolutely adored the section where Lena was thinking about how strong Grace actually is. And when she finally decided to use her voice at the most beautiful and epic time so she could save Lena? That was so amazing.
Plot Twists and Distressing Circumstances? CHECKWhile this book had admittedly less action than I thought it would, I didn't ever think while reading it that the 'in-between' sections were even the least bit boring. That might be because I just really enjoyed reading Lena's perspective about everything so even the less action-packed parts felt interesting.
And the writing? Absolutely beautiful! Lauren Oliver has such a beautiful way with words! Its hard to even described how great of a writer I think she is!
“You can't be happy unless you're unhappy sometimes"
"You have to understand. I am no one special. I am just a single girl. I am five feet two inches tall and I am in-between in every way. But I have a secret. You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope,and without fear. I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”
"It's so strange how life works: You want something and you wait and wait and feel like it's taking forever to come. Then it happens and it's over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed.”
“Hate isn’t the most dangerous thing, he’d said. Indifference is.”
“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.”
“The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well”
“My heart is drumming in my chest so hard it aches, but it's the good kind of ache, like the feeling you get on the first real day of autumn, when the air is crisp and the leaves are all flaring at the edges and the wind smells just vaguely of smoke - like the end and the beginning of something all at once.”
“One of the strangest things about life is that it will chug on, blind and oblivious, even as your private world - your little carved-out sphere - is twisting and morphing, even breaking apart."
“Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging up your back and running its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do-the only thing-is run.”
“It's the way he says my name: like music.”
"I've learned to get really good at this - say one thing when I'm thinking about something else, act like I'm listening when I'm not, pretend to be calm and happy when I'm really freaking out. It's one of the skills you perfect as you get older”
“It occurs to me that for a long time she has been doing her own version of resisting.”
“That's when you really lose people, you know.When the pain passes.”
Sorry for including so many quotes, but this book is just so quoteable. Proof of Lauren Oliver's amazing greatness. :)