Publisher: HarperCollins (Feb 2011)
Hardcover: 448 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating: 3.5 Stars
SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): 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 governments 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.
MY THOUGHTS: Delirium was a good read, but not an amazing one. Delirium is the first book I’ve read by Lauren Oliver, so I wasn’t familiar with her writing style. While Oliver’s prose is unmistakably beautiful and her premise is very unique, I felt that her writing was heavy, lacking conciseness. As a result, the extensively detailed and descriptive nature of her writing slowed down the pace of the whole story tremendously. At times I found myself skimming through passages just to get to the main storyline with dialogue.
Delirium is a dystopian romance novel in which love is considered a disease, also known as amor deliria nervosa. So everyone is scheduled for the cure at the age of eighteen, but Lena tries to defy this system, falling in love at seventeen years old. The cure is supposed to create order, stability, and happiness. But the actual cure or the procedure isn’t explained in depth in the book. It was just glazed over, so it left me wanting more.
As for the “forbidden love story” between Lena and Alex, I never really felt a strong chemistry between the two of them. This was possibly due to Oliver’s overbearing world that she created in Portland with strict rules, set curfews, patrolling regulators(similar to police officers), and a fenced in city. Instead of making Alex and Lena’s love story more enticing because it was forbidden, this strict world took away from the beauty of that love. I felt that I wasn’t able to really appreciate the relationship between Alex and Lena, which was always in secret or hiding, with constant fears of being caught. They were never able to fully express their love for one another in public since love was forbidden. Otherwise they’d risk severe punishment, such as the crypts(jail) or execution. So because their love was prohibited, this was more of a cautionary tale.
What I liked about this story was that it stresses to fight for what you believe in, to fight for love, regardless of the consequences. I think this is a wonderful message. I loved how the Invalids - the people who live in the Wilds that defy the cure and love freely - are a strong example of this motto. I would probably be an Invalid as well had I lived in this world myself. Delirium is full of hope, persistence, and courage, but it was also heartbreaking at times. The ending left lots of unanswered questions from Lena’s past, so I never really got full closure. But overall, I liked Delirium. It was an inspiring story.