Me to students, March-ish: OooooOooooOOooOooooOoo, you got Pandemonium!
Me: HOW is it? Suspenseful? Mind-blowing? Edge-of-your-seat? I loooooooved Delirium!
Students: Um, it switches back and forth in time. So…
Published in: 2012
The protagonist: Delirium’s now-19-year-old Lena, still, although she *SPOILER* bounces between a couple of identities/last names over the course of the book.
The gist in 100 words or less: If you haven’t read Delirium, go do it and stop reading this. Here be *DELIRIUM SPOILERS.* Lena has escaped Portland for the Wilds and struggles for survival with a community of Invalids who rescue her near Rochester, New Hampshire. The narrative switches between the “then” of her Wilds storyline and the “now” of her new life as a citizen of New York City working undercover against the DFA (Deliria-Free America)’s efforts to contain and destroy what is now a growing resistance movement.
Great stuff: Lauren Oliver does setting very well, from the settlements in the Wilds to the massive protest scenes to the eerie, I-can-feel-the-dampness dark of the underground tunnels. Also, the very end was excellent; very predictable but well done and delightfully cliffhanger-y.
Meh: The luuuurve. I never found it fully believable that Lena would be able to suspend her overwhelming fear and fall quite so hard in the situation that she’s in for most of the story. But maybe that’s just her deal. There was a looooot of action, too, and one too many hand-to-hand fight scenes that Lena just-barely escapes from.
“And then I see that it wasn’t a shadow that startled me.
It was a bird. A bird struggling through stickiness: a bird coated in paint, floundering in its nest, splashing color everywhere.
Red. Red. Red.
Dozens of them: black feathers coated thickly with crimson-colored paint, fluttering among the branches.
Red means run.” (127)
Parent/teacher alert: Not much. There is some death and violence but it is not gratuitous. Some of the less action-y death scenes are very poignant and well done and therefore very sad.
Read it if you liked: Delirium, obviously–the overall story is definitely worth continuing with–Matched (this #2 was FAR, FAR better than Crossed), Divergent, Uglies.
Not good for: Those of you who are ready to puke from excessive Edward Cullen-esque descriptions of “chiseled” features, etc. Argh. Also those for whom *SPOILER* death-after-illness strikes a chord.
What my students think: “It was okay.” Many of them are less-than-enthused by the time-skipping, as I was, and thought the structure made the story move too slowly. They weren’t jumping up and down about it, but didn’t pan it, either. They told me I should read it, and after doing so I would repeat that advice.