Lauren Oliver has become one of my favorite authors already, and I’ve only read two of her books! Her writing style is so intriguing; I literally cannot put her books down. I read both Before I Fall and Delirium over the summer, and both made me smile and made me cry. In her writing, Lauren Oliver makes the reader contemplate many interesting questions such as: What happens after death, or rather, what could happen after death? What if love was a disease? Would you take the cure? I found that after reading chapters upon chapters of her work, my mind happily became consumed in her book worlds. Lauren Oliver will help you identify yourself through reading her novels and you too will be left wondering.
Before I Fall is the story of a popular girl named Samantha Kingston who hasn’t a care in the world. However, the story behind this one is that Samantha died on one particular day. This story is told through the perspective of Samantha given more chances to relive that one day, and it truly shows the value in second chances. Each time she gets to relive her last day, Samantha makes kinder and more impactful decisions to benefit those she hardly would have glanced at before. I loved how every chapter started the same, as if Samantha really was waking up to her alarm for the first time, even if it was the sixth or seventh time. It was fascinating to read the perspective of someone who can finally see their life clearly, because they have no blinders to protect them. They see their life as a whole, and therefore can make wiser choices. A famous saying that works perfectly with the theme of this story is: “Hindsight is always twenty-twenty” –Billy Wilder. Oliver poses the question: What would you do if you had second chances to live?
On the opposite genre spectrum, Delirium is a dystopian themed trilogy starter about a girl named Lena who lives in a society where love is considered a disease. Young adults are cured of the disease at the age of eighteen and then they are matched with someone for life, void of attractions to each other. All her life Lena has not questioned the decision of her elders that love is dangerous, until a few months before her eighteenth birthday when she meets a boy and ultimately falls in love with him. Suddenly all that Lena thought was good for the citizens becomes evil, and she must learn to identify with herself.
Oliver writes brilliantly, accurately portraying the confused and headstrong teen while showing their sensitive sides as well. I fell in love with Lena and Alex because they aren’t perfect. So many couples in literature have these magical fairy tales that just aren’t reality, so it’s so fresh to have a pair who have flaws. The real testament of their love is how they stay together despite the society security and Lena’s family against them. I find it so inspiring to read about “What ifs.” It’s one of my favorite types of books to read because they make you think beyond the characters into imagining what you at first thought to be impossible become possible.
Lauren Oliver is an incredible author for young adults because she writes to pose questions, not answers. She opens your mind to possibilities, and just like every good author, she transports you to another era, time, place, and world. I would absolutely love to see both of these books be made into movies so long as the directors and actors stay true to the books’ messages. If they try to turn it into a perfect Hollywood romance or emotional bologna, then it will do injustice to the thought-provoking genius that is Lauren Oliver. Lastly, I believe that characters with imperfections are so important to give to readers because they prove that it’s okay to not be perfect.
Please leave me a comment if you have any recommendations of books I would like that are similar to Lauren Oliver’s writing and your thoughts on my post!
-Kelsey H., 11th grade