Chic Lit Friday!

So, I’m trying out a new installment on the blog here…a book club of sorts. No, we aren’t discussing chic lit as in the genre. We’re chics who enjoy reading and talking YA literature, and we want you to join us on the second and last Friday of each month (if we can keep this up).

One of the most rewarding aspects of writing this blog is not just that I get to acquire all of you wonderful cyber friends who love talking YA lit along with me. It’s not just that in the short time I’ve been blogging, I’ve been able to make contact with some of the fabulous authors of the books I read. But it’s also that reading books I love and recommending them here has actually strengthened friendships I didn’t even know could get stronger.

Enter my great friend Linda, a fellow mom and educator, and a woman who almost two years ago didn’t think she enjoyed reading. So I handed her what, then, was a YA series I thought she’d enjoy–Twilight. That’s all it took, folks. She was hooked, and now she’s a reading machine. The best part about it is that if I love a book and tell her to read it, she does…and she loves what I love! So now we have this virtual book club going on via the blog, and Facebook, and texting. We’re always talking about books, and they are conversations I thought you other YA lit lovers would enjoy too…and maybe you’ll even join us. So, we’ll start today and see how it goes. Today we will talk briefly about Lauren Oliver‘s Pandemonium. I already posted a review of this book. It’s book two in a trilogy that starts with Delirium, so if you have not read either, then you’ll have to rejoin the conversation after you do because we don’t want to spoil these wonderful books for you! I’m going to try a question and answer style to start. We’ll see how this evolves as we go on. Thank you, Linda, for our Google doc discussion!

Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver

We’ve talked about Lauren Oliver’s pacing and how it’s slower than other YA books we’ve read. Her attention to detail is beautiful, but her books are not for those with a short attention span. Now that you’ve made it to her crazy cliffhanger ending, do you feel the pacing was appropriate, or do you still wish it went faster?

I do understand the pacing. It made me fall in love with both Alex and then Julian.  I feel though, that I have to add a disclaimer when I recommend the book to other people: “Keep with it. It is a little slower, but so worth it.”  

Totally agree! Oliver develops her characters so well, and her world building is extremely vivid. You have to appreciate the pacing because it’s that pacing that brings Lena’s world to life and allows us to experience it with her.

What is the worst part, in your opinion, of a world where falling in love is obliterated?

Something that sticks with me is  the  lack of love the parents have for their children.  I love my children more than anything else in the world and would do anything for them, just like my Mom was/is with me.  What happens if you don’t have that person in your life?  I think that would be the biggest loss for me.

When I first read Delirium, that aspect was so unexpected. I knew the book dealt with not being able to fall in love, but I was shocked when I learned that the procedure basically took away the ability to love or feel loved by anyone. Devastating. I am consumed with love for my children and can imagine nothing but emptiness without getting to experience that kind of love. Not getting to fall in love is unthinkable as well. Speaking of which, one of the best experiences of reading Lauren Oliver’s novels is that she creates these forbidden experiences for Lena and allows us to get so immersed that it almost doesn’t feel like a vicarious experience at all, which brings me to my next question…

Why do we fall in love with Oliver’s fictional characters…Alex, Julian, both or either?

They love Lena for who she is, even if she doesn’t think she deserves it.  With Alex she said she could understand if he liked Hana; Hanna was beautiful, but why her?  I think we all have that insecurity about what we look like or think why would anyone like us.  And to see someone, just like us, have these beautiful men fall in love with her makes us feel like we are worth it too.  We fall in love with Alex and Julian because  when they fell in love with Lena, it felt like they fell in love with you too. (a little)

You are making me want to go read these books again. Stop it. My TBR pile is too big! Ok. One more question, and then we’ll call it quits because I have to go attack that pile.

In general, why would you say that YA literature is not just for young adults? Why do we love it so much?

I said before, when I was reading Twillight, that I think the best audience for YA Literature is young adults and women over 30 that are married.  The young people are reading about what is yet to come, anticipating what their first love will be like , imagining what it will feel like.  Women my age, although happy with the life they have created, are reliving their first love or living that part of their life over again through the characters in the books.

Ahhh! That is so it for me! Even though not all YA deals with romance, I gravitate mainly to novels that do because falling in love, for the first time, there’s nothing like it. It’s an experience that is nearly impossible to replicate…unless you are a great writer who lets us come along for the ride. Thank you, Lauren Oliver, for letting us ride along with Lena. We cannot wait for book three.

And thank you, Linda, for doing this virtual book club with me! I’m looking forward to many more to come (and live ones too…where the discussion happens over a plate of fried green beans)!

***Join us on Friday, May 18th for the next Chic Lit Friday. We’ll be discussing Veronica Roth’s Insurgent, of course! And you don’t have to be a chic to join in. Non-chics are welcome too.



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