Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: February 1st, 2011 by HarperTeen
Read: December 29, 2010
Synopsis: 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.com)
This is the first book I've read by Lauren Oliver and let me just say that my feelings for this book are kind of twisted.
Not twisted in a bad way, but twisted as in conflicted and somewhat opposing. Overall, I would say the book was really good. I've actually seen a movie with the same general principal as the book (Equilibrium starring Christian Bale *yummy*) and I've always thought it such an interesting concept. That of removing certain feelings from a person. Given, it would be done for no other reason than control, but still, it's done. And the left over mold of a person is sad and despicable. Maybe at one point I might not have said that, maybe I would have thought, thank heaven, take away the hurt and pain and give me numbness, because anyone who has had their heart broken knows the physical pain such an emotion causes. But, now that I have 2 children of my own, I could never imagine someone taking my love for them away. I would rather fling myself off the nearest cliff than that. Those with children, I hope you know what I'm talking about here. Because even though they have the power to break your heart down to the bitter core, they are a part of you and I just cannot fathom that being removed from me.
But, still, the concept leaves me in a thoughtful stupor. I mean, to think along this route and the consequences that become of such a procedure as cutting out Love.
Although, none of these reasons are behind my conflicting emotions toward this book. I think it is due to how the first half of the book is written. At first I was having a hard time getting into the book. I think I would mostly blame it on the main character, Lena. She seems so dull and following, just like a herd of sheep. She goes where she is told and says what she is told, for the most part anyway. And when she veers from the norm, it's weird to me because it doesn't seem within her character. Like she experiences a growth that I haven't seen instilled in her yet. It's just a bit odd.
Mostly though, I think it's because in so much of the book I couldn't relate to her. I think it was her obedience, above all, that annoyed the hell out of me. I've never been a conformist in most senses of the word, so it's always hard to see others do it when I can tell it doesn't make them happy. I know, teenagers should be obedient, but I don't know a ton that are. Lena seemed to be disgustingly so. It wasn't until anger came into play that she even could do something she wasn't supposed to.
But, and this is where the conflicting emotions come in, eventually she grows a bit and changes a bit and I could relate to her so much more. But at times, she still seems to hold back, to hold on to that obedience even though she doesn't want to. Like she wants the new world, but the old one too.
It was kind of frustrating.
However, Alex makes up for a lot of it. He was so wonderfully written and sweet. I loved him and the way he expresses himself. How he can see both sides of the picture and be so understanding even though he had to be frustrated as hell. My very, very favorite scene in this book is with him when he is reading poetry to Lena. Never before this book have I found that poetry was so beautiful, that it could make me float up with the stars. It was just glorious.
Overall though, I really did like the book. It was such a brilliant take on a dystopian world that I wouldn't be surprised to see one day. And even though it started off a bit slow, by halfway through the book I didn't want to put it down and by 3/4 through, Hubby was getting really ticked at my necessity to keep my kindle attached to my hands with imaginary super glue. So, even though I had a rough start where Lena is concerned, the rest was pretty brilliant. Therefore, if any of you are looking for some spectacular sunsets, some word salad, late night raids, horrific dog bites and a unique plot that will keep your mind running, you'll want to pick up this book.
I keep willing the clock to go faster, but it seems to be resisting me deliberately. I see a customer picking her nose in the tiny aisle of (kind of) fresh produce; I look at the clock; look back at the customer; look back at the clock--and the second hand still hasn't moved. I have this terrible fear that time will stop completely, while this woman has her pinkie finger buried up her right nostril, right in front of the tray of wilted lettuce.
He doesn't answer me directly. He flips forward a few pages in the book, but he doesn't glance down at it. He keeps his eyes on me the whole time. "You want to hear a different one?" He doesn't wait for me to answer before beginning to recite, "'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.'"
There's that word again: love. My heart stops when he says it, then stutters into a frantic rhythm.
"'I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach...'"
I know he's only speaking someone else's words, but they seem to come from him anyway. His eyes are dancing with light; in each of them I see a bright point of candlelight reflected.
He takes a step forward and kisses my forehead softly.
"'I love thee to the level of every day's most quiet need...'"
It feels as though the floor is swinging--like I'm falling. "Alex--." I start to say, but the word gets tangled in my throat.
He kisses each cheekbone--a delicious, skimming kiss, barely grazing my skin. "'I love thee freely...'"
"Alex," I say, a little louder. My heart is beating so fast I'm afraid it will burst from my ribs.
I received this book free of charge from HarperCollins and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.