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It's a poison. And I like it.
on March 2, 2012
Who is Hana? In Lauren Oliver's "Delirium," she's the best friend of the protagonist Lena, in a dystopian world where love is "cured."
And while the short story "Hana" is not quite as gripping as "Delirium," it is a riveting little look inside the mind of a teenage girl who embraces amor deliria nervosa... and discovers that pain and heartbreak can come from love as well. And it fleshes out the character of Hana considerably, letting us see why she does what she does.
Hana is a wild girl. She's scheduled for the procedure in the fall, and has been matched to the mayor's handsome son, but she has a secret life her parents haven't even dreamed of. She's madly in love with a boy from her school, and she loves to sneak away and immerse herself in wild underground parties filled with dancing, music and passion.
But soon Hana's wild hidden world starts to fall apart. Her life becomes consumed with fear of being caught and forced through the procedure, and she discovers that the boy she's been crushing on doesn't share her feelings. And when she finally goes to see her old friend Lena, she makes a devastating discovery that will change everything.
It's not strictly necessary to read "Delirium" before reading "Hana" -- you get a pretty good idea of how this world works right from the beginning. However, it's probably best to read Lauren Oliver's full-length books along with this, because it ends on a major cliffhanger that promises to disrupt everything in Hana and Lena's lives.
And the story really fleshes out Hana, who merely seemed like a rebellious rich kid who's scared to really risk it all in "Delirium." Here we see that she was truly beginning to rebel against the strictures of her society, only to have heartbreak and jealousy smash her back.
Lauren Oliver's writing is sumptuous and infused with emotion, giving great significance to the importance of real love ("They speak in a language of whispers and giggles and secrets; their words are like a fairy-tale tangle of thorns, which place a wall between us"). And she gives a real feeling of fearful tension to Hana's secret life.
"Hana" is a bittersweet little story that really enhances the story of "Delirium." Give this short story a quick look before reading "Pandemonium."