Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Friday, September 28, 2012

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Pages: 480
Source: purchased
Buy It: Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.--Goodreads
Love is a disease.  When one is old enough, you are cured and paired up with a match that will decide what field you will go into and who you will marry.  That’s how it has always been for Lena and she can’t wait to get cured.  But then she meets Alex.  This gorgeous boy, who has thoughts of his own, doesn’t seem to be from around here.  Alex shows her how to live before she gives up feeling.  However, Lena gets caught up in her emotions and starts to question that that one thing she wants to get cured from, she may have already been infected.

Lauren Oliver is best known (well, before this novel) for her book, Before I Fall.  I’ve never read it but it got such good reviews that I had to read this one.  This book, Delirium, has such a fascinating idea behind it that it would have been weird for me not to want to read it.  Love is a disease.  That whole concept is so original and mind-blowing that I had to see what this book was about.  Well, I did, I read the entire thing.  Oliver had such a wonderful voice that it was hard not to love her writing.  She speaks through the page, which really captures her characters’ dialogue.

Oliver’s characters were interesting.  As much as I did not like Lena so much in the beginning with her crazy views on how the society functioned (which I am sure is just me complaining about how the dystopian world that Oliver created was simply so amazing, yet so creepy that I didn’t like the main character because she believed that the society worked), I found her a stronger character than I gave her credit for toward the end of the novel.  Alex was adorable and I couldn’t help wanting to know more about his background.  Hana started out as a cliché but worked her way through so many surprises that she seemed like the most relatable character of them all.  The relationship between Alex and Lena floored me; in a society where love is a disease and any feature showing love is a rebellious act to the government, this relationship held this forbidden aspect over their heads the entire time and I loved that.  How they acted with one another was perfect; Oliver created a realistic relationship between her characters that I am able to see a forever with these two.  But, now, maybe not so much with the ending.  (Spoiler: I don’t mean that one of the characters did something to the other, I mean one of them might be dead.)

The real problem of the book: the plot.  Oliver’s idea of having love as an infection was thought-provoking.  However, the idea didn’t move if the plot refused to, which is exactly what happened until I hit some page in the 200s.  Every chapter I willed it to move a litter farther, trying to get deeper into the story.  Every chapter, Lena would talk about the same thing: love is a disease, and how she can’t wait to get cured.  I realize that Oliver was setting up her dystopian landscape but did it have to take so long?

Overall, Delirium had great potential to be something awesome, with fantastic characters and a mind-blowing idea, but the plot turned that amazing energy into a lethargic river that only flowed after the 200-page mark.  

First Sentence:
“It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.”
-Delirium by Lauren Oliver, p. 1

Rated PG-13 for violent scenes, sexual references, and adventure sequences.

Cover: 3
Characters: 5
Plot: 2
Writing Style: 4
Ending: 5


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  1. I really enjoyed this book. It is definitely the characters that make the story. Lena did do some crazy evolving when it came to her thoughts about love and the society. At the beginning, I admit I wanted to reach in and slap her and tell her to wake up. Great review!

  2. Lauren Oliver grabs you quickly from the beginning and slowly weaves you to a climatic ending that has you wanting to grab her by the collar and shake her until she tells you want happened. I have not been this impressed by an ending in quite a long time and I commend Ms Oliver for piquing my curiosity.

  3. Oliver's writing is as poetic and beautiful as ever in all three stories. If you enjoyed Delirium, I highly suggest you read these novellas to accompany the trilogy.

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