Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver [Quotes]

“You might as well get used to it now,” she says with quiet intensity. “Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew … dust.” She shakes her head and says, a little more firmly, “There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next.”

*

“Slop.” She lifts the cover off the tin pot. “That’s what we call it. It’s what we eat when supplies run low. Oatmeal, rice, sometimes some bread— whatever grains we have left. Boil the shit out of it, and there you go. Slop.”

*

I take the piece of rabbit with my hands, tear a tiny bit of flesh from the bone. And then I think I really might cry: Never in my whole life has anything tasted this good.

*

“If you’re smart, you care. And if you care, you love.”

*

“A church?” This surprises me. In Portland, our churches are made of steel and glass and clean white plaster walls. They are sanitized spaces, places where the miracle of life, and God’s science, is celebrated and demonstrated with microscopes and centrifuges.

*

It is a ruined-world, a nonsense-place. Doors that open nowhere; a rusted truck, wheel-less, sitting in the middle of a stretch of pale green grass, with a tree growing straight through its center; bits of glittering, twisted metal everywhere, melted and bent into unrecognizable shapes.

*

Let go. Feel the weight all around you, feel the squeezing of your lungs, the slow, low pressure. Let yourself go deeper. There is nothing but bottom. There is nothing but the taste of metal, and the echoes of old things, and days that look like darkness.

*

The priests and the scientists are right about one thing: At our heart, at our base, we are no better than animals.

*

“We’re on the other side of the fence now, Lena,” she says, tiredly, as she passes. “Don’t you get it? You can’t tell me what to feel.”

*

If you take, we will take back. Steal from us, and we will rob you blind. When you squeeze, we will hit. This is the way the world is made now.

*

If you want something, if you take it for your own, you’ll always be taking it from someone else. That’s a rule too. And something must die so that others can live.”

*

I didn’t realize then what a privilege that was: to be bored with your best friend; to have time to waste.

*

The flip side of freedom is this: When you’re completely free, you’re also completely on your own.

*

The tunnels may be long, and twisted, and dark; but you are supposed to go through them.

*

I wonder if this is how people always get close: They heal each other’s wounds; they repair the broken skin.

*

“There’s a place for everything and everyone, you know. That is the mistake they make above. They think that only certain people have a place. Only certain kinds of people belong. The rest is waste. But even waste must have a place. Otherwise it will clog and clot, and rot and fester.”

*

Irregularity must be regulated; dirt must be cleansed; the laws of physics teach us that systems tend increasingly toward chaos, and so the chaos must be constantly pushed back. The rules of expurgation are even written into The Book of Shhh.

*

It occurs to me, then, that people themselves are full of tunnels: winding, dark spaces and caverns; impossible to know all the places inside of them. Impossible even to imagine.

*

“They’d already taken her from me once,” he says quietly. “I didn’t want to lose her again.”

*

Raven is right about one thing: It is war now, and armies need symbols.

*

I don’t need Raven, and I don’t need Tack. And even if Raven was right about Lena Morgan Jones— she doesn’t exist anymore, after all— fortunately, I don’t need her, either.

*

Anger is useful only to a certain point. After that, it becomes rage, and rage will make you careless.

*

Even in a world turned upside down, a world of war and insanity, people hang their clothing; they fold their pants; they make their beds.

*

Impossible. I close my eyes and reopen them: the boy from a dream, from a different lifetime. A boy brought back from the dead.

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