Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lauren Oliver

I wasn’t a fan of recent Young Adult fiction because, well, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m not a young adult anymore. That was before December of 2011 when I interviewed Lauren Oliver.

We discussed her book “Before I Fall,” which we described as a cross between “The Lovely Bones” and the movie “Mean Girls.” I fell in love with the book and became a fan of Young Adult fiction. Well-written Young Adult fiction, that is. Unfortunately, it’s not all well-written. But that can be said for all fiction, I suppose.

Lauren Oliver, though, stands head and shoulders above the rest as far as I’m concerned. Her “Delirium” trilogy in particular is outstanding no matter the category. The story starts in an alternate present when love is considered a disease – amor deliria nervosa – and people are required to have the surgical “Cure” after they turn 18.

Shortly before she is scheduled for the “Cure” and to live blandly ever after with the man she’s been matched with Lena meets Alex, a young man who infiltrates the town by pretending he’s been cured. He teaches Lena about the Wilds – where the non-cured “Invalids” live. They soon fall in love and plan to escape over the guarded fences of the town and run away together.

The rest of the trilogy takes us through their adventures. I don’t want to give away too much so I’ll stop there with the story. But I do have to say that Alex and Lena, along with the other characters, are seem so real that when I had only 100 pages to go in “Requiem,” the third book, I posted on Lauren’s Facebook page that I wanted to find out how the story ended, but I didn’t want to say good-bye to the characters. She said she felt the same way.

Now, thanks to Lauren, I will browse the Young Adult section of a book store and I’ve gotten some wonderful surprises there. “Stupid Fast” by Geoff Herbach and anything by Gayle Forman come to mind. Another great surprise was “Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter” by Simon Mayo. I’ll admit I got the book for free prior to my interview with the author but I would have paid for it. In fact, as much as I hate giving away books I love, I gave it to my nephews.

If you take a look at YA fiction and like it you can thank me if you want, but the real thanks should go to Lauren Oliver.

Feel free to comment!

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