Author- Lauren Oliver
Publisher- Harper Collins
Genre(s): Dystopian, Science Fiction, YA
Interest Age: 12 and up
Reader’s Annotation: Lena can’t wait to get her surgery, she just wants to be safe and happy and unable to fall in love, but Lena soon finds that all bets are off when she meets a boy named Alex.
Lena cannot wait for her surgery and to get the cure for Amor Deliria Nervosa, also known as love. She heads to he evaluation with her best friend Hana, and panics and answers the questions incorrectly. Right at the end of her evaluation, a heard of cows run through the room as a protest for the sure. She sees a man standing above her, and he winks at her. She is immediately intrigued. On a run with Hana, Lena runs into this boy again who we learn is named Alex. She discovers he is Cured by the scare behind his ear, and soon has a fight with Hana after she finds out that she goes to forbidden parties with boys and girls and dancing.Lena sneaks out to attend a party with Hana and Alex. There she learns that Alex is not cured, so she runs away from him. Lena hears that the regulators are heading to a party to raid it and arrest people. Hana is at that party so Lena decides to sneak there and warn Hana. She is attacked by a guard dog from the regulators and is taken care of by Alex. She begins to fall in love, and is shown a different world by Alex including the Wilds, the place those who don’t believe in the cure live. They decide to run away and live in the wilds, but are caught at their hangout spot by the regulators and she is captured and restrained, and her surgery is moved up. Alex rescues her and they head towards the wilds, but are chased by the regulators. Alex is shot and captured, and Lena manages to get over the fence into the wilds.
Dystopian is a must when choosing books for a YA collection. Lauren Oliver does such a great job creating a story and set of characters that are completely something new to the YA genre. Lena is relatable, although a bit too fearful but she lives in a completely different world than teens do today. Alex is charming and comes across as a very real character. The overall story line of this novel is thoughtful and carefully laid out. Alex and Lena fall in love quickly, but not unrealistically for that age. The dystopian society of the novel is planned really well, and there are plenty of backstories with each character. Overall, I believe teens will eat up this dystopian love story.
Author Bio/ Information:
Lauren Oliver writes this about herself:
“I was born in Queens and raised in Westchester, New York, in a small town very similar to the one depicted in Before I Fall. My parents are both literature professors, and from a very early age, my sister and I were encouraged to make up stories, draw, paint, dance around in costumes, and essentially spend much of our time living imaginatively. Our house was old and full of art and towers and towers of books, and that’s still the kind of house I like best.
I started writing as a way of extending my love of reading; when I read a book I loved, I would continue to write sequels for it (I was inadvertently a fan fic writer, before “fan fiction” was even a term!). Later on, I began working on my own stories, and keeping company with a lot of imaginary friends.
I pursued literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago, and then moved back to New York to attend NYU’s MFA program in creative writing. I simultaneously began working at Penguin Books, in a young adult division called Razorbill, and while there, I started work on Before I Fall. I left in 2009 to pursue writing full-time, and now I happily work in my pajamas every day” (Lauren Oliver Biography, n.d.).
Ties to Curriculum Units: Dystopian
Could you see something like this happen in our society today?
Would you go along with the cure or live in the wilds?
The general issues that may come up with this book is some violence. It is tame, but critical for the story. I would explain this, as well as explain the importance of dystopian literature for teens. I decided to include this book in my collection because it is in the dystopian genre, which is huge with young adults, and it has a fresh story line. I think young adults will appreciate the thought and planning it took to create this novel, and will love the love story aspect to it.
Lauren Oliver Biography. (n.d.). Lauren Oliver. Retrieved from http://laurenoliverbooks.com/biography.php