Posts tagged ‘laurenoliver’

June 29th, 2011

“You’re still reading dystopian?”

by Madeleine Rex

I can’t tell you how many times my mom’s asked me this question.

Now, my mom’s not much of a reader herself (this may be hard to believe, but she really is far too busy to read), but she does host a book club with me and forces herself to listen to my bookish jabbering. Therefore, she’s heard plenty about various dystopian societies. I can’t seem to quit leaping at dystopian novels, despite the fact that many of them are rather similar.


There’s simply something fascinating about a world that is a twisted and demented version of the one we’re living in. Even without the elements of fantasy, dystopian worlds manage to be just as fantastical, but in a more relatable way. The more connections I can make between our world and the one in the book, and the easier it is to understand the path that was taken to get from one to the other, the more mesmerizing and terrifying the dystopian world is. A few miscalculations, a few conniving people, a few natural disasters, and we’re there, living in a world even more dysfunctional than the one we’re living in now.

However, I’d have to say that the reason I haven’t had my dystopian fix is the same one that motivates me to read almost anything: characters. No matter what genre, and no matter how bland the world, a colorful cast of characters can steal my heart. All I’m really asking for is the opportunity to love a few more people – to make friends and enjoy their company. When I read, my ultimate desire is to be invested in the lives of fascinating people. Dystopian is a genre that accommodates intriguing worlds, horrific realities, and, if the book is good, characters with whom I can fall in love.

There are many irresistible dystopian novels out there, and their strengths vary. Some are written by adept and talented authors whose prose enchants me. Others are set in worlds so corrupt and abominable that I can’t help but read them and savor the horror. And the best of them are homes to people I adore.

Here are a few dystopian books that I’ve enjoyed and recommend, particularly to those that are skeptical about the value and appeal of the dystopian genre:

Divergent by Veronica Roth [5/5]

Wither by Lauren DeStefano [5/5] (Review)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver [5/5] (Review)

Matched by Ally Condie [5/5] (Review)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins [Can I say 10/5?]

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky [4/5] (Review)

What are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you be reading?

December 20th, 2010

Delirium by Lauren Oliver; HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!

by Madeleine Rex

I know how anxious you guys are to read this, so although my ARC is very dear to me, I’m here to share the delirium.

Pun intended.

And, it’s the holidays! What could be more appropriate than a giveaway?

I want the giveaway to end by Christmas, so that leaves everyone with five days to enter including today and Christmas Eve. Here’s the deal:

  • You must enter before 12 am. (your time, no matter what it is) on December 25th
  • You must live in the United States (Sorry, but I’m paying for shipping!)
  • There are no extra entries, but I appreciate all tweeting, messaging, or blogging!
  • The book is a little beaten up, as my friends have read it, too. There are some pen marks on the bottom that appeared after a trip in my cousin’s backpack. I wasn’t previously aware of this, and I’m sorry! It’s still fantastic!
  • Fill out this form.
  • This one.

Good luck to all, and to all a good night! (Or whatever time it is.)

Read my review of Delirium here.

Read my interview with the Lauren Oliver and her character, Alex, here.

November 29th, 2010

Delirium by Lauren Oliver; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver

Published: February 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 448

Rating: 5/5

Review Sent to HarperTeen:

People fell in love with Lauren Oliver the moment Before I Fall hit shelves. Delirium will take their adoration to a whole new level. The idea of our most valued treasure being a disease, an illness –  something to be despised – is intriguing enough, but Oliver comes at this idea with thoughtful and mesmerizing prose, making the book somewhat of a masterpiece. A novel about a world that seems loveless and destitute but so full of passion, admiration, and love, Delirium will push readers to the edge of their seats. And then leave them teetering. This book made me wonder, it made me cry, but most of all, it taught me to cherish my delirium.


Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love. [From Goodreads]


First of all, let me bring to your attention the fact that I really wasn’t that much of a fan of Before I Fall. Sure, I thought it was okay. I don’t regret reading it. However, I wouldn’t feel as if I had missed something really special if I hadn’t.

The same simply cannot be said for Delirium. Oh. My. Gosh. The idea, the concept is so fantastic and thought-provoking, but when you add to that Oliver’s entirely evident talent for making you feel precisely what the characters are feeling, you get a hit. This book isn’t character driven. It isn’t plot driven. It’s love driven from the very start.

There’s something utterly great about a world that fascinates you. Immediately, you’re entranced by the little details of the dystopian society. The nearly loveless world in which Lena lives is frighteningly like ours, but then the little details show themselves and make all the difference. People’s eyes are glazed over. Coed is unheard of. People fear love. Oh, yes, they do. There’s the whopper of a difference. Love is so appreciated and sought after and glorified in our society (as it should be!). It’s one of my favorite things in the world. And to have it removed?

Worst yet was knowing in the pit of your stomach that the main character, Lena, and her fabulous friend, Hanna, are headed toward a loveless fate. The characters in Delirium are very well fleshed out and dynamic. They’re perfectly imbalanced. They contradict themselves and fight amongst the various versions of themselves floating within them. It’s wonderful to read because their contradictoriness and abnormalities make them real.

Lena is intriguing for these very reasons. She’s so conflicted. You itch for her to make what you believe is the right decision and, sometimes, she just doesn’t. Sometimes she just does. And with every one of those “failures” and “victories,” you see her growth. It’s a wonderful feeling to watch her branch out and really blossom. To “come into herself.”

Hanna is one of the best girlfriends ever. The girlfriends in books tend to be spunky and daring. I suppose she is, but she also struck me as so much more than that. She was certainly one of the most contradictory of all the main characters. One second I would think I knew her, and the next she would surprise me. For once, she’s the sort of daring and funny friend who I can imagine being my friend. Hanna’s deep and thoughtful. Hilarity is just the icing on top.

Naturally, I couldn’t finish this review without talking about Alex. He’s amazing. Really. I love that he’s valiant and spontaneous and funny and thoughtful and passionate and intelligent. Oh, wait. I just described your Prince Charming? Mine, too. He’s somewhat of an enigma at the beginning, and I don’t want to spoil that fluttering mixture of apprehension and excitement you’ll feel in your stomach as you read, so I’ll be shutting up.

The development of the characters, their relationships, and the plot all fit so perfectly together. Not simply like a jigsaw puzzle, but like a jigsaw puzzle without the classic tattered corners and peeling paper. Though things moved along a bit slowly at first, everything was made up for by the fantastic second half. Tension built at the exact same pace as my interest grew as a reader. You sink into this book slowly, but sink you do.

Truthfully, there was a shining moment, a bit of the book so remarkably perfect and unique and beautiful that made it deserving of 5 stars. That made it amazing.

The. End.

The end is heart-wrenching/-stopping/-breaking. It made me cry, but I was so happy to cry because the ending was so right. It’s written in such a way that you feel everything. Every moment pings your skin and stings like hail. You just have to succumb to the heartache because it’s undeniable that the end of Delirium is exactly what it needs to be.

*Thank you, thank you, thank you for the ARC!

PS. If you’re interested, read my interview with Lauren and

her dashing character, Alex! Click here.