Novelist Lauren Oliver has been taking the young adult scene by storm for nearly a decade.
Her 2010 debut novel, Before I Fall, will finally see the big screen this Friday, March 2. According to a February 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the New Yorker has also been hard at work with her eighth work of young adult fiction and is expected to host a book tour this fall. With a dozen books under her belt, the 34-year-old author knows a thing or two about penning unforgettable works that leave readers desperate for more.
So who is Lauren Oliver?
Oliver (born Laura Suzanne Schechter) is an American author who has been widely recognized for her contributions to young adult literature, which include: Before I Fall, Vanishing Girls, but most popularly, her Delirium trilogy. Raised in a small town in Westchester County, New York by two literature professors, Oliver knew at a young age that she wanted to be an author and make a career living imaginatively. She started her writing career by creating “sequels” to her favorite books (which she now admits was an early form of fanfiction—before the term really existed).
She studied literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago and moved back to New York to pursue a creative writing degree at New York University. From there, she started working at Razorbill—a young adult division of Penguin Books. In 2009, she left that career to work full-time on her first novel.
What has she worked on?
Oliver’s latest book, Replica, published last June, which features two narratives by different characters in the book. The novel revolves around two teenagers Lyra, an experimental subject from an island research facility that houses human “replicas”; and Gemma, who discovers her life isn’t what she thought it was after being nearly abducted by a stranger who claims to know her.
Another of Oliver’s most noteworthy achievements is her boutique literary development company, Paper Lantern Lit, which she runs with fellow author Lexa Hillyer. Together, Hillyer and Oliver mentor aspiring authors in order to produce new books, which are then submitted for publishing consideration.
But why you should read her?
Oliver is an incredibly engaging author, and not just for young adults, either; she’s also dabbled in adult fiction territory as well. What makes her so extraordinary, though, is her ability to write for demographics outside of her usual age bracket, and we see that effectiveness in her 2014 novel, Rooms, a bone-chilling ghost story in which the living encounter the dead.
Most importantly, though, Oliver works well at telling stories in a way that is completely beside the formula she’s used to sticking to. In Delirium, she imagines a dystopian society in which love is considered a disease for which humans must be cured; in Before I Fall, a girl is forced to relive the events of a single day over and over after a fatal car accident, prompts her to re-examine the way she lived before the disaster; and in Panic, a town hosts its annual contest in which teens compete in daredevil acts of fear.
With each and every work, Oliver churns out fresh, exciting and unthinkable concepts.
What should I start with?
Personally, I’d recommend first-time Oliver readers to check out her books in order, beginning with Before I Fall. It’s an engaging and interesting page-turner that will have you clinging to the pages until the very end. Next, I would suggest giving her Delirium trilogy a try—it’s also my personal favorite.
Nonetheless, whatever you decide to start with, there’s a good chance you’ll find something in Oliver’s work you’ll fall head over heels with.