Adolescent Lit. Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lena Holoway, seventeen, always looked forward to her eighteenth birthday when she would receive the cure.  Before scientists found the cure, people thought that love was a good thing, but now they know better.  Falling in love, or catching the deliria, is a disease and once it has taken hold there is no escaping its grasp.  Lena believed that being cured would allow her to be safe and without pain.  The only problem is that with only months left until her appointment to be cured, Lena Holoway falls in love. 

Lauren Oliver's Delirium is the first book in yet another dystopian trilogy.  From the beginning, Oliver has reader's sitting on the edge of their seats trying to figure out just what Lena's society is all about as they attempt to eradicate love, pain, and feelings in general.  At the age of eighteen, an appointment is made for each member of the society to receive their cure.  While the exact steps for the procedure are not outlined in the book, it is suggested that the part of the patient's brain that controls feelings is removed.  In the novel, Lena transitions from a girl who completely trusts in her government and their way of operating to a girl who questions their ideas and recognizes that love is necessary for living a life that is full and complete.  

Oliver leaves readers hanging at the end of the novel, but thankfully book two in the trilogy, Pandemonium, is already out.  

Recommended for Grades 9-12. 


Adolescent Lit. Review: Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers has a special gift for writing novels that many of today's teenage readers are interested in and can relate to.  Myers won the Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1994, where four of his books, Hoops, Motown and Didi, Fallen Angels, and Scorpions, were recognized for "authentically portraying African-American youth without being limited to any particular ethnic group" (American Library Association). In 2000, Monster won the Michael L. Printz award for excellence in young adult literature. Walter Dean Myers is the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. 

Synopsis: Steve Harmon, a sixteen-year-old black male, has been arrested and charged with felony murder.  As the lookout in a robbery that left a store owner dead, Steve struggles throughout the novel with whether he is truly guilty of murder.  If convicted, Steve could face a sentence of 25 year to life in jail.   Having taken a film-making class in school, Steve tells the story of his ordeal by alternating between screenplay and journal formats.  The screenplay format allows readers to see the intensity within courtroom while the journal entries show the inner feelings of Steve as he is unsure of what his conviction will be. Black and white images are also expertly woven in to accompany the text. In this novel, Myers tells a realistic story of a boy who experiences jail and struggles with guilt, but wants more than anything to be pronounced innocent.    

Recommended for Grades 9-12.  
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