Author: Lauren Oliver
Paperback: 441 pages (ARE version)
Published Date: February 2011
FTC: Snagged free from work shelf
Short and Easy:
After Divergent (my review), this is the second YA series I'm eagerly awaiting for book two. It's more of a romance story with a dystopian backdrop, and if you like that, this is your type of series.
In the not too distant future, scientists have decided that love is a disease, dubbed amor deliria nervosa. In a few months Lena will turn eighteen years old and be old enough to get the procedure done which will prevent her from falling in love...and she can't wait. On the day of her evaluation (which pairs the person with their future partner), Lena has all the right answers prepared (Here's the Evaluation guide). But the unthinkable happens and she starts botching questions. Fortunately chaos ensues when someone (probably the Invalids) lets a heard of cows into the evaluation center. Looking up Lena sees a boy:
The observation deck. A boy is standing on the observation deck, watching the chaos below. And he's laughing.
As soon as I look up, his eyes click onto my face. The breath whooshes out of my body and everything freezes for a second, as though I'm looking at him through my camera lens, zoomed in all the way, the world pausing for that tiny span of time between the opening and closing of the shutter.
His hair is golden brown, like leaves in autumn just as they're turning, and he has bright amber eyes. The moment I see him I know he's one of the people responsible for this. I know that he must live in the Wilds; I know that he's an Invalid. Fear clamps down on my stomach, and I open my mouth to shout something - I'm not sure what, exactly - but at that precise second he gives a minute shake of his head, and suddenly I can't make a sound. Then he does the absolutely, positively unthinkable.
He winks at me. (pg 38)
After that moment, Lena's life isn't so clear cut. She starts questioning things. She starts noticing things. She starts wondering about the Invalids (people who have refused the cure) who live in the Wilds.
I thought this was wonderfully put-together book. I liked how Lena started out completely accepting the way things were but as she notices some things the questions just start snowballing. I love that the story's main part was the changes that Lena go through and the development of her relationship with the Invalid boy. I think this was a much needed set up for the rest of the series. Each chapter starts with a quote from either an accepted book/work or a piece from the Comprehensive Compilation of Dangerous Words and Ideas. Lauren Oliver's website even has a partial list of Forbidden Books which I thought was pretty cool. It's definitely a story about forbidden love so don't go into this thinking it's radically sci-fyi or dystopian. Also, it's got an insanely huge cliff-hanger of an ending. So either read it now and hold your breath for the next book or wait until they are all out if you can't stand waiting to find out what happens.
The cover of my book is the advanced reader's edition with the above cover. If you go to the store, these are the covers you'll find:
What do you think? Do you like the published covers or the ARE version?
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