Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hana by Lauren Oliver

Published February 28, 2012.

Author website.

The summer before they're supposed to be cured of the ability to love, best friends Lena and Hana begin to drift apart. While Lena shies away from underground music and parties with boys, Hana jumps at her last chance to experience the forbidden. For her, the summer is full of wild music, dancing—and even her first kiss. 

But on the surface, Hana must be a model of perfect behavior. She meets her approved match, Fred Hargrove, and glimpses the safe, comfortable life she’ll have with him once they marry. As the date for her cure draws ever closer, Hana desperately misses Lena, wonders how it feels to truly be in love, and is simultaneously terrified of rebelling and of falling into line.  (goodreads.com)

I had to go back over my review of DELIRIUM because for the life of me I can't remember much of anything from that book.  Apparently I really liked it (loved it is more on par there) and I was desperate to read more of the story. It's funny how tastes can change in such a short amount of time.  My DELIRIUM  review was posted about a year and a half ago.

That's not to say I wouldn't still like DELIRIUM if I read it again because my tastes don't change THAT drastically but having read far more like stories since I think I'd look at it with a different eye.  Yes, I'm still a fan of ROMEO & JULIET except I now know it's true point, and it's not all about star-crossed lovers.  I'm still a fan of non-douchey boys and even Oliver's writing.  But within the time since I've read DELIRIUM one major issue has been brought to my attention that would completely throw a wrench in the reality of the story - children growing up unloved by parents.  Really this would create a society of feral children.  Children can subsist in the mechanics of parenthood like feeding, changing, etc.  But love is a pretty huge factor in a kid's developmental years.  Just look at all those orphans in eastern Europe.  Removing love from society is far more detrimental to its well-being than it is beneficial.

So that's what I went in to HANA with, this reformed view of Oliver's word tickling my mind.  It wasn't a bad story but because I couldn't remember what really happened in DELIRIUM I had a hard time placing HANA so that was a nagging factor throughout.  Personal, obviously.  By the end I kind of remembered where it was because Hana encounters Lena after she received the dog bite so I have a vague idea of what and when.

Ultimately it was nice getting into Hana's head a bit and see her basically being scared straight.  She doesn't want to be cured but at the same time the thought of being caught rebelling is far too horrifying for her.  She's a really dynamic character that I do wish I'd seen more of in DELIRIUM (I'm assuming I didn't because she isn't really mentioned in my review but I do remember her).  I think there's more of a struggle there for her, more of a tear, than what Lena had.  Really I think she would have made a better MC than Lena.  Maybe I would have remembered more of DELIRIUM if that were the case.  It wouldn't have been so "standard" a story that way.  Not to mention there are so many other ways to approach someone like Hana because she's all aspects of the world: rebel and conformist.  She doesn't draw a hard line in the sand and it's really a struggle for her.  I would have liked to have seen her through her cure, to see if it really took, what her brain was like afterwards.

I enjoyed HANA, obviously.  I wasn't as thrilled with the writing as I appeared to be with DELIRIUM, especially the lack of contractions.  A lot of 'I am''s going around that annoyed me.  But it was a good glimpse of Hana and provided her with so much more depth.  I haven't read PANDEMONIUM yet but I hope she's in there more and it doesn't just focus on Lena.  And from HANA alone I was able to suspend my disbelief enough in the world to keep reading because I think everything else fit and there was an obvious care and craft to the world itself.  It didn't appear to be thrown together in a blender and spit out.  I can't say if that would hold true if I re-read DELIRIUM or tried to get into PANDEMONIUM though.

Ban Factor: High - Those kids rebelling against the system.  Can't have that, children thumbing their noses at adults.  Breeds malcontents!
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