YA Wednesday: Amazon Asks Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver become a YA favorite with Before I Fall, her novel of a teenage mean girl who is killed in a car crash but then wakes up to re-live her last day again and again over the course of a week. A book embraced by so many can be a tough act to follow, but Oliver gave us Delirium and we loved her all the more. Fans of the trilogy have been waiting in bittersweet anticipation for the last book and yesterday Requiem was finally released. Oliver does a fantastic job of keeping the action and romance going to the very end (we thought it was best of the month good), and I think readers are going to come away happy with the end but a little sad that the trilogy is over.
If you haven't started the Delirium books but you like Ally Condie's Matched series, The Hunger Games trilogy, or Lois Lowry's The Giver, I think you'll feel instantly connected to this story of a rigorously controlled society where love is a sickness to be cured at age 18, but not everyone thinks that's truly living.
I met Oliver a couple of years ago when she wrote her first middle grade novel, Liesel & Po, and found her funny, interesting, and full of ideas. We wanted to see what she's up to these days so we sent her some "Amazon Asks":
Describe Requiem---or the Delirium trilogy--in one sentence?
LO: The Delirium trilogy is about a world in which love is viewed as a contagious disease; scientists have figured out how to cure it.
What's on your
LO: The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick; The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson, Why Does the World Exist? by Jim Holt.
Top 3-5 favorite
books of all time?
LO: Love in The Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides; Matilda, by Roald Dahl; The American, by Henry James; To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
Book that changed
LO: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer. After I read it, I became convinced that I wanted to be a novelist. I was twenty at the time, and I began seriously working on my first novel. It was never published (thankfully), but it set me on the course of my present career.
What are you obsessed
LO: I just had my kitchen redone, and I now have a beautiful breakfast-bar area where I can do my writing and be within arms-reach of the coffee pot. It is amazing. I'm totally, totally obsessed. I never want to leave my house now, or even my chair.
What are you stressed about now?
LO: Right now, at this very second, I'm stressed about two things: whether there will be an epic blizzard in New York that will prevent me from going to see my sister in St. Louis, and why my agent seemed unconvinced by the pitch I gave him for my newest book idea. Actually, I'm pretty stressed about my newest book idea.
What's your most prized/treasured possession?
LO: It's so sad, but probably my phone. I'm pretty obsessed with my phone. I have a strange, troubled, intimate relationship with it. And it's the only possession I have that I feel I couldn't live without.
What do you collect?
LO: Art! I love hunting around for prints. I also have a large collection of children's book illustrations. Some people might say I also collect shoes.
Best piece of fan mail you ever got?
LO: I'm not sure that this qualifies as the "best," but it is certainly the oddest: a girl wrote me to ask what my feelings were about biting people. That was it, her whole query. I responded that I feel good about biting people if they are attacking you.
What's next for you?
LO: Next year, I'm releasing a new standalone YA title called Panic. It's realistic and gritty and very different from Delirium. And I also have my very first adult title coming out next year. It's a novel called Rooms, and it's told at least in part from the perspective of ghosts who inhabit the walls of a very old house.