Book Review – Requiem

Requiem is the final book in the Delirium trilogy. If you haven’t read Delirium or Pandemoniumwhat are you waiting for?! But seriously, don’t read this post until you’ve finished both those books, unless you don’t mind spoilers.

This is completely unrelated, but I just noticed – Lena seems to be quite the trendy name, especially for YA novels. The Delirium trilogy stars a Lena; I’m reading Beautiful Creatures with Lena as a main character, and just read a review of City of Embers – with a Lena. Don’t you hate when a name becomes a fad?

Requiem focuses on the resistance and the buildup to a revolution against DFA and the government. Lena has made it back into the Wilds after a huge gamble to save Julian’s life in New York. What she didn’t expect for her return to the Wilds, was for Alex to join them (or to be alive at all). Suddenly Lena has to deal with feelings she thought had long been buried, while trying to hide it all from Julian, and watching Alex grow close with another girl.

As the resistance grows stronger, Lena and the others are threatened by Regulators, who have begun infiltrating the Wilds in order to suppress the Invalids. Constantly in motion, Lena’s group eventually find themselves at the center of the revolution – ready to attack Lena’s childhood home, Portland.

At the same time Lena’s best friend Hana is approaching her marriage to her selected match – Fred Hargrove, mayor of Portland. Hana seems to have the perfect life after her Cure. Perfect wedding, perfect husband, and perfect house; all will be hers. Of course, nothing is perfect, and beneath the surface, Hana’s life is far from it. While her story and Lena’s alternate throughout, it becomes clear that they will become intertwined somehow, and it is at this point that Hana must make a decision about her “perfect” life.

Requiem was a perfect end to the trilogy. Another wonderfully written book that used alternating chapters like Pandemonium; this time, the chapters alternated between Lena and Hana. When I got to Hana’s first chapter, I didn’t see the point and I thought to myself, “I really don’t care about Hana right now…what’s going on with Lena?” But just like Pandemonium, I felt myself getting drawn in with both stories, and constantly wanting to read one more chapter so that I could find out what happened with either character. What I loved about this whole trilogy, is the way little details throughout prove to be important later on (I guess the teacher in me would call it foreshadowing! 🙂 ). I think it’s safe to say that the Delirium trilogy is one of my favorite YA series. I know I will be recommending it to students, or asking which of them have read it so we can chat about it!

If you’re looking for a summer read (or three), these are your best bet! Have you read the series? What were your thoughts?

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Source: GoodReads

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Book Review – Pandemonium

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver Source: http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com

If you haven’t read Delirium yet, wait to read this post. This is the sequel, and it’s impossible to write about it without spoilers.

Pandemonium picks up where Delirium left off. Lena has escaped Portland into the Wilds, and is trying to heal – physically and emotionally – and find her place among a group of “Invalids” who have taken her in. Eventually Lena is given an important role in the resistance; she is assigned to watch Julian Fineman, son of the president of the DFA (Delirium-Free America, a group whose purpose is to promote the Cure). This assignment takes Lena, as well as a number of her friends from the Wilds, into the middle of a DFA rally in Times Square. When an attack happens at the rally, Julian is taken into an old subway tunnel. Lena follows, and soon finds herself fighting for her life.

This book was written differently than Delirium, with each chapter alternating between “Then” and “Now” – Lena’s adjustment into the Wilds, and her role in the resistance. At first I wasn’t too fond of this layout, but as the story went on, I appreciated it much more, and I can’t imagine it written differently. I wasn’t as compelled to read the first few chapters as I had been in Delirium, maybe because of the alternating settings, but there came a point where I found myself thinking, “Ok, just read this next chapter so you can get back to ‘now’ to see what happens!”

I didn’t like this book better than Delirium, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, period. This was more of an adventure, and very action-packed compared to Delirium. Lena’s narration was perfect again. Lauren Oliver has a way of describing things and telling a story in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily think of, but it’s exactly right; I feel like her writing is poetic but simple. This had another one of those cliffhanger endings, and I couldn’t resist a trip to Barnes and Noble the day after I finished, to get the third book. Which I just finished… 🙂

Overall, if you loved Delirium, it’s a good idea to read Pandemonium. And pick up Requiem while you’re at it, trust me.

Book Review – Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium is a book that I’ve always looked at, but for one reason or another, never decided to read. It was one of those that was always in the back of my head – “I’ll have to read that one day,” until finally, after seeing a number of my students with it, I decided to go for it (I had also just finished creating a summer reading list for myself, made up entirely of YA books, and was eager to start).

Delirium takes place in the present-day United States, with a couple of major differences. The most important is that the government and society believe love to be a disease which must be cured. Without love, the society is safe. As a person approaches their eighteenth birthday and nears high school graduation, they undergo a number of tests and evaluations. Some are meant to determine whether or not they will attend college after high school, or be placed in a basic job; another test helps determine which job the person will be placed into, and the final tests are to find suitable matches for each person. Once a person receives their approved matches, they choose one from the list and that becomes their life partner, but only after they have both undergone the procedure to be “cured” – to no longer feel love.

Lena is approaching her eighteenth birthday and looking forward to her procedure, and starting her new life of normalcy and safety. She and her best friend Hana begin their summer after graduation just like every other summer, until Lena meets Alex, a security guard at the labs where her procedure will take place. This sets into motion a series of events which help her to realize that Hana isn’t quite the person she’s always known, and that maybe love isn’t worth curing.

While some aspects of this book are somewhat predictable because of the dystopian setting (and very similar to aspects of other dystopian novels), the story is original enough that it made me want to keep reading. Lena as the narrator was very easy to connect with, and I’m sure teenage girls will feel the same. I liked how real the society felt, and how similar to our own it was. It didn’t take a lot of imagination (which isn’t always a bad thing) to visualize the town, the school, Lena’s neighborhood, etc., and I found myself more able to focus on what was going on rather than trying to keep minor details straight. I also thought that Lena’s inner conflicts were very relatable – growing up learning and believing a way of life, only to find through different experiences that maybe you don’t agree with those beliefs – but what is right?

Bottom line, I really enjoyed this book and have since flown through the sequel, Pandemonium (review coming soon). It’s a great choice for anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction as well as romance. If you liked Matched, you’ll definitely like Delirium!