Lauren Oliver, Harper, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-172682-8
In her sophomore novel, Oliver (Before I Fall) presents an intriguing but disappointing thought experiment, set in a dystopian future in which American borders are sealed and civil order is enforced by regulation, vigilantism, and "the procedure," a coming-of-age lobotomy that excises amor deliria nervosa, or love. Nearly 18, Lena Haloway welcomes the prospect; her mother underwent three unsuccessful procedures and eventually committed suicide, so Lena deeply believes that love equals suffering. Still, there's a subversiveness to her thoughts and actions, from nurturing the motherless child Gracie to reading Romeo and Juliet because it is "beautiful," not the cautionary tale it's presented as. When a strange, handsome boy begins to intrude on her life, strictly against the regulations, the "beauty" of that tragic trope begins to play out swiftly and relentlessly. The prose is accomplished, and the Portland, Maine, setting wonderfully evoked. However, Oliver's nightmare future lacks a visceral punch, primarily because of the weakness of the world-building. Her America has undergone a seismic shift, but the economic, religious, and cultural ramifications are all but ignored. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Show other formats
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-91546-7
Book - 978-0-06-201252-4
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-06-211403-7
Paperback - 978-1-4447-6836-7
Book - 400 pages - 978-1-4447-2065-5
Paperback - 441 pages
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-06-206954-2
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-91545-0
Prebound-Sewn - 464 pages - 978-0-606-23575-4
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-340-98092-7
Hardcover - 393 pages - 978-0-340-98091-0
Hardcover - 441 pages - 978-0-06-211243-9
Paperback - 393 pages - 978-0-340-98093-4
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-4447-3605-2
Paperback - 560 pages - 978-0-06-222368-5
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.