New to You (17): Amber Reviews Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Amber from YA Indulgences. She will be reviewing a book that made me fall in love with dystopian stories when I was binging everything YA I could get my hands on. Let’s see what Amber thought about Delirium by Lauren Oliver:

New to You (17): Amber Reviews Delirium by Lauren OliverDelirium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
Published by HarperTeen
Published: August 2, 2011
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three-stars

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe.I wonder whether the procedure will hurt.I want to get it over with.It’s hard to be patient.It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet.Still, I worry.They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness.The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

CW: Suicide mentions, animal death

My first Lauren Oliver book was Before I Fall, I’ve owned Delirium for years. I was happy when I was finally given a reason to read it with Andi’s feature.

The first and only dystopian novel I ever read was The Hunger Games and even then I didn’t read Mockingjay. Delirium has a really interesting premise with not wanting people to feel love. I thought this aspect while fascinating ended up being a bit meh.

Love is described as having negative effects and even causing death. Due to this, once teenagers are eighteen, they are given a cure to stop it. In addition to the cure, they take evaluations for proper marriage “choices”. They are given four choices based on their evaluations.

The cure essentially erases people’s pasts as well. They don’t retain many loving memories from their life before much therefore their lives are dulled. I couldn’t really get behind the whole “Let’s cure people of love”, it seemed too far out there as far as dystopian consequences. It would have made sense to somehow “cure” people from feeling at all rather than just love.

Another issue with Delirium was the insta-love. Somehow in only three meetings, Lena and Alex fall in love. Somehow Lena is so positive towards the cure and in two months is completely against it after her eyes are opened. There’s a situation in the book where Lena and Hana (her best friend) talk and I felt like their roles really should have been reversed. I could not get into their relationship at all. I thought some moments were sweet but other than that, not at all believable to me. I liked Lena well enough, I thought she was a decent protagonist. I hate how I liked her more after she got to know Alex. It didn’t seem like she could stand on her own feet.

Now, onto the things I enjoyed, the look at the darkness of this world through raids and prisoners. It seemed so real, especially with the world today with protests. I loved Hana a bunch. I’m excited to read the novella involving her. I liked Lena’s friendship with Hana. I did love Alex, even if he did seem like a bit of a manic pixie dream boy. I was surprised at the ending which unexpectedly broke me.

Overall, I would rate Delirium three stars. I will definitely read or listen to the follow-ups.

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Thanks Amber for signing up for New to You! Sorry it was not an instant love for you, but that’s books for you. Personally I’m a massive fan of the audios for this series and recommend everyone trying them out!

Have you read anything by Lauren Oliver?

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Review: Replica – Lauren Oliver

Review: Replica – Lauren OliverReplica by Lauren Oliver
Series: Replica #1
Published by HarperCollins
Published: October 4th 2016
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three-half-stars

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

As a massive Lauren Oliver fan I was really excited to see she had a new book coming out. Delirium will forever be one of my favorite books and Vanishing Girls still blows me away. So when I heard about Replica and its unique concept I was immediately sold. Two books in one with different ways of reading an option? Yes please! And in the end…I really enjoyed the story. I didn’t love it as much as I did past Oliver books but I was enthralled and captivated by Lyra and Gemma’s stories.

When started Replica I had two options reading; I could read alternate chapters of each girl’s story or I could read one girl and then the other. I started reading alt chapters but made it 3 before changing my mind. Instead I read Lyra and then Gemma. I can’t really say how you decide to read it will change your reading experience but I can tell you that the way I read it I liked Gemma more than Lyra.

Lyra – 3.5 stars
Lyra was an interesting character to get into. Truthfully I had some trouble with her story. I felt like there were parts missing and I couldn’t really get to know her. I mean I liked her enough, but she was hard to get into and to really sympathize with. I don’t know if this was because of her not having much human interaction or what, but she was a big struggle for me, especially her bluntness. I also wanted more background. Instead the book just jumped into it. In the end though I did find her interesting and I want to know exactly where her story will lead and how everything that happened to her will affect her in the future.

Gemma – 4 stars
Gemma on the other hand I immediately liked. I liked her story and the sort of mystery that she found herself involved in. Basically I found Gemma to be more likable and her story more interesting. There was something just so basically real about her and I couldn’t help but root for her to be the brave, beautiful girl she was. Her story unfolding really was interesting and 100% kept me invested.

Together I loved how these two girls’ stories intersected and how they entwined. They made for an interesting story when combined and all the pieces were put together. I may not have loved it as much as Delirium and other Oliver books, but I am interested in knowing more and maybe rereading it with alternating chapters instead of reading one girl and then the other.

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Review: Vanishing Girls – Lauren Oliver

Review: Vanishing Girls – Lauren OliverVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins
Published: March 10th 2015
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five-stars

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I first fell in love with Lauren Oliver’s writing when I read Delirium years back. There was something special about the way she wrote the world and the characters. She pulled me right in and I have never looked back. So when I went to one of her signings in early 2014 and she told us about Vanishing Girls it was a no brainer. I mean as soon as it was available I pre-ordered it. One of the best decisions I have ever made. Vanishing Girls was absolutely fantastic. And right up there with my Delirium love if not a tiny bit above it. Oliver outdid herself with this one.

Vanishing Girls is about sisters Nicole and Dara. Although nothing alike, Dara is super popular with a ton of friends while Nick likes to keep to herself with her best friend Parker, the two girls have always been pretty much joined at the hip. Then there is an accident and their relationship is shattered. Nick wants things to go back to the way they were before but she can’t get Dara to talk to her. And when Dara goes missing along with a 9 year old little girl Nick is determined to figure out what happened and get her sister back no matter the cost.

It’s hard to say what I loved about Vanishing Girls so much. I honestly found the book to be pure genius. It took me by surprise but at the same time it was filled with everything I expect from a Lauren Oliver book. It was fantastic. Oliver 100% nailed it. The plot was there, the characters were there, and the writing was there. Everything just worked for me and gave me a story that stuck and hit me in just the right places. My heart ached for these sisters, this family, all of the people involved. Everything just hurt for them and much like Nick I wasn’t sure how to fix the hurt.

The other thing I really enjoyed was the way the story was told. Chapters were told from either Nick or Dara’s POV from the past or from the now. Some were told in diary format from Dara’s point of view and I think that really added to the story. It gave us some light into Dara’s head space before the accident and what kind of things she was keeping from people and what she was feeling. I think that added a lot to the story in the end. It gave an excellent point of reference for when everything is said and done and adds a small mystery to the story which I love in a good book.

I can’t say enough how much I loved Vanishing Girls and think everyone should read it. It kept me interested from the beginning to the end and I loved how everything unfolded and connected. Oliver outdid herself with this one. The plot was pretty epic and the whole story just worked for me. Pick this one up. I’m so happy I have.

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Review: Requiem – Lauren Oliver

Review: Requiem – Lauren OliverRequiem by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books
Published: March 5, 2013
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five-stars

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.Requiem is told from the perspectives of both Lena and her friend Hana. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.


I was lucky, SUPER lucky and got to read this book back in November when a friend lent me her Advanced Readers Copy. To say I devoured it would be a huge understatement.  I read the whole book in probably less than 8 hours and it has taken me 3 months to get my thoughts on paper, 3 months to realize it is over, 3 months to accept that Lena’s story is done(well until the TV show starts!).  Why has it taken me so long? Truth: I’m devastated it’s over. I loved this series with everything I have and when I turned that last page and read those last words I was slightly heartbroken because it was an ending. Lauren Oliver had crafted such a deep, emotionally story for these characters and I was sad to see them go. From the first page of Delirium to the last page of Requiem I was invested and to say goodbye was hard. But every good beginning must have an end and I’m thrilled to say I’m happy that Requiem was that end.

Much like Delirium, we get to see both Lena and Hana’s lives, but this time from both girl’s eyes and not just from Lena’s perspective. Both girls have chosen different paths in their lives and that is evident almost immediately because neither one of them is the same girl they were at the beginning of the series. Lena is much harder than she was. She has seen things she never imagined she would back in the days she was with Alex. She has had her heart broken and has been thrown for a loop. She feels things more than she ever could have imagined when she left Portland. And then you have Hana. Hana has been living a loveless life in Portland with guilt slowly eating her alive. Once full of life and energy Hana is now a drone fighting her natural urge to feel things. She is torn and restless and yearns for the life that she could have had. Both girls are in two different places in their lives but suddenly on the same path which is about to coverage right while a war is about to begin and everything is about to change.

Amazing really. Requiem is an amazing ending to an amazing series. Each book gave me a different feeling when I was reading it and I think the anxious feeling I got from Requiem was appropriate. It was more action packed and tense than the other two books but had a deep level of emotion as well. I completely understood Lena’s motives and Hana’s feelings(or lack there off) and why it led each of them to take the actions they did. Lena was stronger than she ever was and Hana was the weak one which in reality was always the case no matter how it appeared. The dynamic between both girls was really spot on.

What I really loved about this book was how you could see the complete growth and maturity of Lena. Oliver managed to show how she became a woman in a subtle yet blatantly apparent way and that was a highlight of this final book. Gone was the uncertain Lena with the school girl like crush on Alex and the envious feelings about her best friend’s life. She did what few others had done, she ran and stood up for what she believed in and she was a better person for it.

Bravo Lauren Oliver for opening my eyes to this world and thank you for letting me spend time with these amazing creations. Much like I felt reading that final word, I leave with a smile on my face and tear in my eye.

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Second Chance Sunday – Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Second Chance Sunday – Pandemonium by Lauren OliverPandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Published by HarperTeen
Published: February 28, 2012
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five-stars

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. In this electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller Delirium, Lauren Oliver sets Lena on a dangerous course that hurtles through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Seldom is there a book that I am so excited for I run out to purchase it the day it’s released. And rarely does that book live up to my expectation. It is like that movie that people tell you over and over to see that gets built up in your head and then after you see it, total disappointment. It has happened to me before and it will happen again so I was worried about Pandemonium. Did I put too much stock into it? Would it be a “sophomore” slump sp to speak? With the amazingness of Delirium, it had pretty big shoes to fill. Well, Pandemonium filled those shoes and more! It was absolutely everything I wanted it to be and more! It hit all the points I was hoping for, had the growth in the character of Lena that I was looking for and yet left me aching for more, more, more. It did EXACTLY what the second part of this sure to be amazing trilogy was supposed to do; it left me wanting the final piece of the story.

Pandemonium starts off with Lena and where she is now. It has been months since she climbed the fence, months since she watched Alex get shot to save her and she is now part of the resistance. She is undercover in New York doing what she can to help save people from the procedure and to open their eyes like hers were. She has obviously been through a lot since we last saw her, and through a series of Then and Now chapters we get to see what Lena’s life is like now and what it was like when she was in the Wilds. As readers, we are taken on a journey of Lena learning how to fend forever herself and how to trust people she doesn’t know all while burying the emotions of the past and trying to forget Alex, Hana, and Grace. We learn how she got to where she is and what leaving everything behind has done to her.

Because the thing is, Lena Holoway is not the same girl we knew in Delirium. She is this new person that has to deal with that age old saying…“it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. Lena has loved. She loved with everything she could and then she lost it all and everything she knew in one split second. That love was taken from her and so was her right to choose and that changes a person. You see, there was no way for Lena to stay the same. Her eyes were opened by Alex and once that happened she couldn’t go back. Lena had to accept how things are and learn to adapt. The thing is in order to do that she has to push down a tiny piece of herself.

Really it was brilliantly done. The changes in Lena are so subtle but noticeable. She is no longer the girl that isn’t anything special. She isn’t the girl that is hiding behind her pretty best friend. She is the girl that Alex brought to light, that he taught to fight for her right to choose. She is braver and stronger and aware. She stands taller and swears and thinks things through instead of being told what to do. Like it says in Pandemonium, she was reborn the day she went over the fence and there is no past.

Honestly, the whole book was just magical. Right down to the page turning, cliffhanger of an ending. I knew Oliver was going to do it, leave us hanging on for more. I just knew it and yet I was sad, happy, annoyed and anxious when I got to the final page. I wanted to throw the book and laugh all at the same time. Instead, I just ended up smiling for a very very long time and I still can’t get the book out of my head. It has only been a couple of days since I read it and I’m already dreaming of a re-read. And that right there is a true testament to the power of her words and a book that will end up being timeless.

There is really a ton of things I can say about Pandemonium. I can go into a ton of details about what the Wilds were like for Lena, the people she encounters, the circumstances that are thrust upon her, and the connections she makes(whether romantic or not), but I just can’t. It would give away too much and you would miss out on a remarkable story. Just do yourself a favor. I know you may or may not know me, but trust me on this…pick up both books, Delirium and Pandemonium, if you haven’t already. In my heart of hearts, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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