376p. HarperCollins/Harper. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-197806-7; ebook $9.99. ISBN 9780062101990. LC number unavailable.
Gr 9 Up—Following directly on the heels of Delirium (HarperCollins, 2011), Pandemonium is equally riveting. It shifts back and forth between "then," as readers discover how Lena adapts to her life in the Wilds even as she grieves for Alex, and "now" where she is infiltrating the DFA, an organization committed to offering the "cure" to all citizens regardless of their age in spite of the known risks to anyone under the age of 18. She begins to have feelings for Julian, the son of the leader of the DFA, when they are incarcerated together following a mass demonstration. They discover they have more in common than they could have imagined despite their initial mutual antipathy and distrust. Oliver's descriptions of life in the unregulated Wilds with its deprivations and dangers are powerful and vivid. The characters are fully realized and heartbreakingly human. The underlying theme that love will win out regardless of prohibition is a powerful idea that will speak to teens. Readers who gravitate toward dystopian literature with high-stakes action and flawed humans who are willing to risk all for their ideals will enjoy this novel and eagerly await the next one in the trilogy.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Delirium, the first book in the trilogy, introduced a dystopia in which love is a deadly disease to be eradicated. Chaos reigns as Lena begins working for the resistance and is swept into a battle for freedom. Plenty of action and rising stakes move the story briskly along; the cliffhanger ending offers some rewards while anticipating more dramatic turns to come.
The first book in the trilogy, Delirium (rev. 3/11), introduced a dystopian America in which love, "amor deliria nervosa," is a deadly disease to be eradicated. In this aptly named sequel, chaos reigns as Lena begins a new life in the Wilds and is swept into the war between Deliria-Free America and the growing resistance. The old Lena is dead, buried in the fire and ashes that took her beloved Alex during their botched escape attempt. The new Lena, callused and lean from the endless scrabble for food and shelter outside the bordered communities, survives a bitter winter with the other toughened Invalids -- those uncured from the deliria and therefore still capable of feeling. She re-enters the city under a false identity, working for the resistance. While following orders to tail Julian Fineman, the youth leader of the DFA, she and Julian are both attacked and imprisoned underground. In their battle for freedom, Lena discovers unexpected inner strength and, incredibly, another chance at love. The suspenseful page-turner takes readers into the heart of a harsh new world where Lena and her friends fight for the survival of humanity. Plenty of action and rising stakes move the story briskly from one twist to the next; the cliffhanger ending offers some rewards while anticipating more dramatic turns to come. lauren adams

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