Synopses & Reviews
For as long as Emmeline can remember, she’s longed to leave the isolated world of the settlement and explore the wilderness that calls to her in her dreams. And now that the Council has fallen, she will finally, finally
get that chance. With First Peoples guide Matisa at her side, Emmeline rallies a brave group to join her on her quest into the unknown, including her beloved Kane and his two younger brothers.
But the journey soon proves far more dangerous than Emmeline anticipated—with warring clans, slavers, colonists, disease, and natural disasters seemingly at every turn. After putting so many lives in danger, she starts to doubt everything she once knew. Did she make the right choice to leave the settlement—and can her relationship with Kane survive the ordeal? Matisa insists that to set things right and to fight the evil that is bringing all this danger and turmoil to the forest, Emmeline must journey to Matisa’s people—even if that means leaving Kane behind.
In her sophomore novel Oliver (Before I Fall) presents an intriguing but disappointing thought experiment set in a dystopian future in which American borders are sealed and civil order is enforced by regulation vigilantism and "the procedure" a coming of age lobotomy that excises amor deliria nervosa or love. Nearly 18 Lena Haloway welcomes the prospect; her mother underwent three unsuccessful procedures and eventually committed suicide so Lena deeply believes that love equals suffering. Still there's a subversiveness to her thoughts and actions from nurturing the motherless child Gracie to reading Romeo and Juliet because it is "beautiful" not the cautionary tale it's presented as. When a strange handsome boy begins to intrude on her life strictly against the regulations the "beauty" of that tragic trope begins to play out swiftly and relentlessly. The prose is accomplished and the Portland Maine setting wonderfully evoked. However Oliver's nightmare future lacks a visceral punch primarily because of the weakness of the world building. Her America has undergone a seismic shift but the economic religious and cultural ramifications are all but ignored. Ages 14–up. (Feb.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
“Oliver’s deeply emotional and incredibly well-honed prose commands the readers’ attention and captures their hearts. With a pulse-pounding tempo and unforeseen twists and turns, Lauren Oliver has opened the door on a fantastic new series; the second book can’t come soon enough.” --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In [Oliver’s] dystopian America, love has been outlawed as the life-threatening source of all discord. Lena’s gradual awakening is set against a convincing backdrop of totalitarian horror. The abrupt ending leaves enough unanswered questions to set breathless readers up for volume two of this trilogy.” --School Library Journal (starred review)
“Olivers follow-up to her smash debut, Before I Fall (2010), is another deft blend of realism and fantasy...the book never loses its A Clockwork Orange-style bite regarding safety versus choice.” Booklist
Praise for Before I Fall:“Olivers debut novel is raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful....readers will love Samantha best as she hurtles toward an end as brave as it is heartbreaking.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Before I Fall:“Before I Fall is smart, complex, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Lauren Oliver has written an extraordinary debut novel about what it means to liveand die.” Carolyn Mackler, author of Tangled and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, a Printz Honor book
Praise for Before I Fall:“This story races forward, twisting in a new direction every few pages, its characters spinning my emotions from affection to frustration, anger to compassion. Youll have no choice but to tear through this book!” Jay Asher, author of the New York Times bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why
Praise for Before I Fall:“Oliver, in a pitch-perfect teen voice, explores the power we have to affect the people around us in this intensely believable first novel...This is a compelling book with a powerful message and should not be missed.” ALA Booklist
“In a thick climate of fear, Oliver spins out a suspenseful story of awakening and resistance with true love at its core.” The Horn Book
“Strong characters, a vivid portrait of the lives of teens in a repressive society, and nagging questions that can be applied to our world today make this book especially compelling and discussable.” School Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for Before I Fall:“Samanthas attempts to save her life and right the wrongs she has caused are precisely what will draw readers into this complex story and keep them turning pages until Sam succeeds in living her last day the right way.” Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)
"Readers who have found themselves battling for their own versions of righteous truth-seeking will cheer Emmeline’s grit."
"Fast-paced and full of crosses and double-crosses, right to the cliffhanger ending."
—Booklist "A tense, paranoid story in which layers of treachery, deceit, and danger are peeled away one by one. . . . Charbonneau makes excellent use of her dystopian theme in a twisty story that hits its mark."
—Publishers Weekly "[A] compelling mix of new lies, double crosses, and increasingly menacing government figures focused on destroying Cia."
—Kirkus "Fans of The Testing will be thrilled with this new installment and will be anxiously waiting for the story's conclusion."
—School Library Journal
"Charbonneau has created an elegantly organized plot that will keep the reader engaged and wondering how this richly layered plot will unfold. . . . The tension and conflict will have readers at the edge of their seats as the imagery and complexities of the characters and plot design are exposed."
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2013 list
“The Testing is a chilling and devious dystopian thriller that all fans of The Hunger Games will simply devour. Joelle Charbonneau writes with guts and nerve but also great compassion and heart. Highly recommended.”—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of Rot & Ruin and Flesh & Bone
"I galloped through this excellent read; I was in suspense the whole time."—Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series
"There is nothing standardized about this Testing. Charbonneau's imagination will surprise readers at every turn."—Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness
"Action-packed and full of twists, The Testing will keep you guessing until the very last page—and desperate for the next book!"—Erica O'Rourke, author of the Torn Trilogy
* "The rising tension, skillfully executed scenarios, and rich characterizations all contribute to an exciting story bound to capture readers' imaginations. . . . Charbonneau works action, romance, intrigue, and a plausible dystopian premise into a near-flawless narrative."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Charbonneau jumps into the packed dystopia field with a mashup of Veronica Roth's Divergent and Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy, but she successfully makes her story her own."—Kirkus
"Charbonneau is a fantastic story teller and this book is a tribute to that background. The intrigue in The Testing passes evaluation of what a good dystopian novel should represent."—VOYA, 4Q 5P M J S
"The plot twists are well integrated and will keep readers on edge awaiting the next volume."—Horn Book
"The influence of The Hunger Games is obvious, and The Testing will satisfy readers who want similar dystopian adventures." —SLJ
"A philosophical, ruminative adventure."
Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.
Lauren Oliver astonished readers with her stunning debut, Before I Fall. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it "raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful. An end as brave as it is heartbreaking." Her much-awaited second novel fulfills her promise as an exceptionally talented and versatile writer.
From the acclaimed author of Before I Fall comes her powerful second novel, a stunning tale of star-crossed romance, set in a world where love is forbidden. Lena Haloway has always accepted the government's decree that love is a disease that must be eradicated--but then she meets Alex.
Emmeline knows shes not supposed to explore the woods outside her settlement. The enemy that wiped out half her people lurks there, attacking at night and keeping them isolated in an unfamiliar land with merciless winters. Living with the shame of her grandmothers insubordination, Emmeline has learned to keep her head down and her quick tongue silent.When the settlement leader asks for her hand in marriage, its an opportunity for Emmeline to wash the family slate clean—even if she has eyes for another. But before shes forced into an impossible decision, her dreams urge her into the woods, where she uncovers a path she cant help but follow. The trail leads to a secret that someone in the village will kill to protect. Her grandmother followed the same path and paid the price. If Emmeline isnt careful, she will be next.
In book two of The Testing series, the government has wiped Cia's memory of the grueling and deadly initiation into higher learning. Ignorance is bliss, but are Cia's so-called friends trusted allies or traitors in this survival story?
In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the governments murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
In Cia's dystopian society it's an honor to be chosen for The Testing. But its not enough to pass the Test. Cia will have to survive it.
Its graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether shell be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.
About the Author
Lauren Oliver is the author of the YA bestselling novels Before I Fall, Panic, and Vanishing Girls and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages and are New York Times and international bestselling novels. She is also the author of three novels for middle grade readers: The Spindlers; Liesl & Po, which was an E. B. White Read Aloud Award nominee; and Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head, co-written with H. C. Chester, and a novel for adults, Rooms. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYUs MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the cofounder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit.