YA A to Z: Lauren Oliver
If you are new to TLT, you may not know that I am a huge Lauren Oliver fan. The first Oliver title I read was Delirium, which The Tween and I listened to as an audio book. This was The Tween’s first YA book experience. Lauren Oliver was the first author I took The Tween to meet. I pulled her out of school early and the entire family journeyed to Northern Dallas for an epic adventure that culminated in this incredible moment. Her first signed book was Leisl and Po by Lauren Oliver. As you can see, there are a lot of firsts associated with Lauren Oliver in my house.
I was in love with Pandemonium after reading it, so much so that I ended up writing this letter to Lauren Oliver. We live in a world in which choosing to love may not be illegal, but it is definitely courageous. If after getting your heart broken that first time, or the second or third or 100th time, you still choose to love, then you are one of the bravest people out there. I wish more of us chose love every day, then maybe we wouldn’t be at this staggering moment in U.S. history where 1 in 30 kids now are homeless.
Lauren Oliver doesn’t just write YA novels, she has written a couple of Middle Grade novels as well, which The Tween and I have read together. These are precious memories to me, especially as I have recently begun to notice that she doesn’t really want to kiss me goodbye as I drop her off in front of the school anymore. So I’ll take some good family reading cuddles when I can get them.
So, about Lauren Oliver. She was born, raised and currently lives in New York. She lived in Chicago for a while to attend university. It’s astounding to me that her first book, Before I Fall, was first published in 2010. Especially when you consider it is now 2014 and she has published 9 books: 6 YA, 2 MG, and 1 Adult. Her adult book, Rooms, is the only one I haven’t read so far. She is the daughter of true crime novelist Harold Schechter.
Before I Fall is the Groundhog Like tale of a mean girl, unique in that it is told from the mean girl/bully’s perspective. She is forced to live one day over and over again as she slowly comes to understand how her actions have affected those around her and works to change the events of one fateful day.
Panic is about a group of high school seniors who compete in a series of increasingly dangerous dares in a competition to win a large sum of money. The thing I like most about this book his the near pitch perfect way in which Oliver captures that fierce desperation to escape both small town life and a life of poverty. As someone who has lived in and cares passionately about the issue of poverty, I thought Oliver did a really good job of capturing those little details. At one point our main character is living out of her car and trying to keep that fact hidden from her friends and authorities so she can keep her and her sister together and out of foster care.
I am, obviously, a huge fan of the Delirium trilogy. This dystopian thriller asks us to consider what it means to chose love. It also asks us to consider the importance for free will and autonomy, even if that means we are often forced to suffer the consequences of not only our choices, but the choices of others. I think there is a lot of interesting discussion to be had here.
I recently finished reading an advanced copy of Vanishing Girls which will come out in March of 2015. It’s much too early to talk about this book, but it is the story of a family that is disintegrating, a small town mystery, and the relationship between sisters. There was so much that I liked about this book and look forward to discussing.
Her MG titles are Spindlers and Leisl and Po, both fantasies that The Tween and I love.
Join the conversation! Share a post about your favorite author OR tweet us your favorite author with the tag #YAAtoZ. While we’re sharing our favorite authors, we would love to hear about yours. We all might find some new authors we haven’t heard of before. And the more authors we share, the more comprehensive and diverse the list becomes. On Twitter, we’re @TLT16 and I’m@CiteSomething.
#YAAtoZ Schedule: Week 1 4: A ; 5: B ; 6: C ; 7: D Week 2 10: E ; 11: F ; 12: G, H, I ; 13: J, K ; 14: L Week 3 17: M ; 18: N, O ; 19: P, Q ; 20: R, S ; 21: T Week 4 24: U ; 25: V, W ; 26: X ; 27: Y ; 28: Z
Filed under: YA A to Z
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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