Friday, April 27, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Book description:
I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

My thoughts:
I knew I wanted to read this book after reading the first one, but over the course of time my memory of Delirium has gotten a bit more vague.  I found myself wishing that I still had my copy of it to look back on, but I am trying to be really good about passing along, in one way or another, books that I have read unless they are my absolute favorites.  Otherwise I will never dig my way out of my book collection.

At first I was confused by the beginning of the book.  The chapters alternate between "Now" and "Then".  At first the "Now" doesn't make sense with what I remembered from the ending of the other book.  Why is Lena in school in NYC.  Was she caught and sent back after her escape?  Who is Raven who taught her to push past the past and live in the now?  But as you read along it all starts to fall into place and make sense.

Living on the other side of the wall isn't quite what Lena thought it would be.  Alex never fully prepared her for how they would live once they were there.  I found myself wondering what had happened to Hana and Grace, her best friend and cousin, when they were left behind without her.  Did Hana feel betrayed or lost without her friend, or did she go on to her procedure to be cured of deliria (love, strong emotions and even anger) and forget about her as they had feared all along.  I also found found myself wondering when deliria became such a big issue, how long had people been going under the procedure to be cured and how many people are there living outside of the walls.  Is Lena right that the walls for the cities will keep expanding outwards until all the open, wild spaces are gone.  How much do we take on face value and how much more is there behind some of the truths we learn in history classes in schools and classrooms.  These children learned that the bombs fell and the infected people in the wild were gone, but Lena sees the lockers at a school still with clothes and books in them.  The mess that was made of stores, churches and home from the wreckage left behind and she knows it wasn't quick and painless as it was portrayed to them by teachers.

What is worth giving up your freedom for?  How much is freedom worth fighting for?  This dystopian world is set over top of our country.  NYC is there, inside a fence, living under the guidance of living deliria free.  Meantime, outside the fences and walls are groups of people living precariously without enough food and with very little security from day to day, surviving and hoping to make a difference for the future of the country.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 28, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 006197806X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061978067
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches

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