Friday, August 12, 2011

Judgment, No. 10

by Lauren Oliver
"I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie."
Only a sappy teenager caught in a nightmare of cliches could ever get away with saying that.
This book was recommended by a friend. She hated it and wants me to hate it too. Because that's the sort of friends we are (read: awesome). Plus, I've been slowly coming to terms with the fact that I'll have to read this eventually. Because I always cave to pop culture, sometimes just out of the pure joy that comes in despising something everyone else loves (why else do you think I read the entire Twilight series?).

But this book? It sounds like Uglies, minus the awesomeness. A surgery, a government conspiracy, a submissive narrator. Then—BOOM—everything changes, and so close to the deadline too.

Even for such a pretty cover, and even though I loved Lauren Oliver's debut novel, I already know I'll hate it. I knew it as soon as I read the back cover. I mean, the premise has promise—a world where love has been outlawed. Classic. But there are two things against it: 1) this is a YA novel and 2) this is a romantic YA novel. So it's practically destined to suck.

That's not fair. Oliver is an exceptional writer, I think. At least in her first book. And I don't know why she decided to write something so...Twilight but, alas, here we are. Yet another dystopian YA love story. And the weak thing about YA dystopian fiction is that it isn't really about the world or the society (except for The Hunger Games, which was a beautiful exception that ended badly). It's just an excuse for an edgy setting; the same tired plots, stock characters and love triangles are transferred over. And I know that's how it will be in this book.

Love is bad. So what happens? Enter the girl, settled into her unromantic life, probably a bit pathetic and passive just…waiting. Then she'll meet the boy, dark and mysterious and completely inappropriate for her, probably a zillion times more vibrant than her but with enough sensitivity to seek out whispered moments cuddling with his new love. Because that’s what teenage boys want, after all. Of course, he won’t have much to say or any real reason to be there except that 1) this is a YA novel and 2) this is a romantic YA novel. So they're required to fall in love. And they will, quickly and inexplicably. He’ll be perfect and she'll be empowered. Slowly. But even with her manpowered confidence, she’ll spend a good portion of the 400+ pages (oh, wait, seriously?) doubting herself, her lover, her life. It will be all whining and moping with intermittent make-out scenes. There will be her energetic and cocky best friend to clash with and her dull parents who just don't understand. Because, in YA fiction, there's just no such thing as too much drama. 

I just pray to all heaven and earth that there isn't a love triangle. But there probably will be—or at least the promise of one. Because this is a series, after all. I mean, it sort of has to be, seeing as it's YA fiction and all (hate that trend). And with this being the first in the series, it will just be an introduction. I'm sure/hope after pages of dragging it will go out with a bang. 

Hey, maybe the boy will die. Then the girl will go all Rambo seeking revenge on the government. That could be epic. 

...except then there would be a love triangle. Because 1) The love interest never dies; he always comes back, and 2) Girls are stupid in books and don't know this, thus they fall in love with the next available male. And once first love comes back to find second love, the ensuing drama involves the girl taking a passive back seat to watch the two polar opposite men fight over her. 

Maybe a drug discontinuing love isn't such a bad idea. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself--already talking about a sequel when I haven't even gotten (read: struggled) through this one. I really don't understand why it has to be 400+ pages (really?), but I'll read it. It will be dry and lifeless, but I'll read it. I'll resent it, but I'll read it. I just doubt I'll ever enjoy it. 

No matter how gorgeous the cover is. 

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