Replica by Lauren Oliver

ReplicaTitle: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Replica Series
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: October 4th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

Quick Look:

Replica is a really interesting take on clones, both in the plot and how the book is structured. Gemma and Lyra are unique characters whose stories start as far apart as you can get, but soon intertwine. Neither can get the answers they need without helping the other. The premise is unique, and despite a few flaws, the book is definitely worth a read. Continue reading

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Rating: ★★★★

Panic is an interesting book. On the surface, it’s a bunch of just graduated teens, looking for a way to spend the summer in a town with not much to do. Panic is invented as a way to test the bravery of teens and give entertainment to the participants and the spectators. But it’s more than that. It’s about revenge and anger, about looking for a future; it’s about finding a place to belong.

Heather and Dodge are competitors, each fighting for a different reason. They both come from less than ideal homes. Heather has a drunk, barely there mother who doesn’t care about taking care of her children. Dodge lives behind a diner in an area of town known as Meth Row. Heather had no intention of joining Panic, but she wants to feel important, valued. Panic gives her a way to do that. Dodge wants revenge after holding onto his anger for years. This is his chance to do it.

Heather is not the strongest character in the beginning. She’s doing this as a way to try and heal the heartbreak of teen love. She’s got courage, but she doesn’t know how to fight. She goes along with things, wanting to change them, but not actually doing it. Through the game, she discovers that she can do something about her life. She can fight and make changes. The life she has now doesn’t have to be the life she has to have.

Dodge, on the other hand, is fighting for something he believes in. Unfortunately, he’s so blinded by anger that he can’t see that the people around him don’t need revenge. He sees the game and the only way to even the score. He has a lot of demons he has to fight, but instead of realizing they are personal, he thinks the only way to defeat them in to get revenge.

Even the secondary characters are fantastic. Nat and Bishop, originally Heather’s best friends, become Dodge’s friends as well. They have a perfectly realistic friendship, complete with jealousies, insecurities, and not being able to completely understand a person, even when you’ve known them your entire life. It’s wonderfully well written and real.

The action plot of the book is unique. It starts a little slow, but the game isn’t the main focus of the novel. It’s there to drive the character development, but it’s pretty interesting as well. It’s a game that’s entertaining and frightening to those watching, and a way to test endurance and courage of those participating.

Panic is probably not the book you thought it was. It’s about a game, yes, but there’s so much more. It’s about fighting personal demons and finding a way to fight for yourself. It’s a wonderful book that’s worth a read.

If Panic sounds like a book you’d like to read, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Title: Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium
Rating: ★★★

So for months, I had been hearing about the lackluster ending Requiem had. I prepared myself for disappointment and was ready to face this questionable ending. I kept reading, waiting for that moment to hit me, where everything I had heard and read came true. And it never came. Requiem is not my favorite series ending book, but it definitely wasn’t what I had been expecting.

Lena has made it through so much to be free. She wants the freedom to choose who she loves. Even though she knows that it’s wrong to take people’s ability to love away, there are moments in Requiem where she questions her life choices. She feels what love is doing to her and even though she welcomes it, there are times she thinks about what it would have been like to never worry about love. I’m glad Oliver made Lena question herself. Even though Lena knows what she’s fighting for is right, those moments when she looks at the other side make her more human. Those moments make her strength and resolve stronger.

Lena has Alex and Julian with her as she travels with her group of rebels. Lena feels something for both of them, but it doesn’t feel like a love triangle. It’s not overdone or drawn out. Alex has his merits, as does Julian. They each have their moments of strength, when I was rooting for each of them to get the girl. They each had their moments of weakness as well, when I just wanted to shake some sense into them.

As for the ending, I’ve already said I don’t mind if there are loose ends left over, as long as everything major has been handled. As long as I feel that sense of closure, I can find peace with an ending. I had been expecting a much more abrupt, out of the blue, full of loose ends ending. Yes, things are left up in the air, but I don’t think it was nearly as bad as I had been led to believe. There are still questions and everything isn’t tied up in a pretty little bow, but it was easy to see where things were headed. I don’t need to see everything else that happened. Oliver wrote enough of the ending to have it feel like closure while still leaving it a little bit open. My mind can wander and fill in the gaps without stepping on any other parts of the story.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who won’t be satisfied with how Requiem ends and I can understand that. But for me, enough was tied up that I can feel piece with the ending. I’m not going to say it was my favorite series, or my favorite ending, but it was good enough. I feel content without knowing the rest of their story. It’s a testament to Oliver’s writing that even though she has left the ending open, I don’t need more. The entire Delirium series was a fascinating look into the future where love is a disease and those who are lucky enough to find love have something to fight for.

If Requiem sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Delirium By Lauren Oliver

After reading Oliver’s “Before I Fall,” I was anxiously awaiting reading this book, even though I knew it was the beginning of a series that would not be concluded for a few years. That is how much I love Oliver’s writing style.

Lena lives in a world where love is viewed as a disease, and doctors have found a way to “cure” people of the swoony, fluttery feeling people get when they fall in love. They remove that wonderful feeling people get when they fall in love and people are okay with this. Love is crazy and makes people go crazy.

Lena only has 95 more days before she will be cured, but of course, that is too much time. She starts to feel the love disease creeping up on her, and she can’t stop it. More to the point, she knows she should want to stop it, but she doesn’t. It’s the disease taking control of her.

The end of the book has my heart continually breaking every time I think of it, and Pandemonium cannot be release soon enough. I’ll be waiting at the front of the line to get my copy.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I have mixed feelings on this book. I felt the ending fit, and although I found myself hoping it wouldn’t end the way it did, I can understand why it happened that way.

When I started reading I found it hard to believe that Sam could be redeemed. Her character just seemed too lost in herself to actually learn anything from what happens to her. In fact, she even gets worse at one point. But somehow, Oliver was able to write the change in Sam so well, it fit and didn’t seem forced at all. I had completely changed how I felt about Sam, and was deeply touched by the ending.

I was also impressed that Oliver wrote the ending the book deserved and needed, instead of the one people would have wanted. I will gladly read anything else Oliver writes, if she continues to write the story she wants to tell, and not the stories other want her to write.