Pages: 441 (hardcover)
Published: February 2011 by Harper Teen
Recommended for: fans of dystopian romance
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.
The premise of Delirium kind of had me worried at first-- I mean, I love dystopia, and there was so much buzz surrounding this book. But the idea of a futuristic society where love is treated as a disease and they literally have it down in the textbooks in Latin as amor deliria nervosa with symptoms like 'scattered thinking' and 'sweaty palms' listed seemed a little cheesy at first, even if there was supposed to be a great love story involved. But I ended up loving the execution of the story, the beauty flowing descriptiveness of Lauren Oliver's writing, the subplots, everything.
Lena isn't my favorite heroine ever, mostly because she doesn't really stand out to me among other dystopia protagonists. But the other characters: Alex, her mother, and especially her best friend Hana are all fantastic. They're strong and passionate and caring in a world where passion and love are seen as terrible disease. The story of Lena's mother, a rebellious woman who vanished from her life long ago and was considered 'uncurable' and a problem subject by the doctors who administer the cure for love at age 18, is what really sold me on the book. Alex is amazing-- he's rebellious and fun-loving and genuinely cares for Lena, and felt so much more real than many love interests in YA books I read. So much that I came close to having a little panic attack for his safety while reading the last few pages when everything boils down to a suspenseful (and very cruel, Lauren Oliver!) cliffhanger of an ending.
There are quotes at the beginning of every chapter, which I always love because one of the first books I ever loved to death, Inkheart, had quotes as well. These quotes arent from actual books, but bits of poetry and lore and song taken from the futuristic world of Delirium and a sort of well-being book for their world called "The Book of Shh". Some of these excerpts and songs are so beautiful and entrancing, I was almost surprised they weren't already written down somewhere and they didn't seem fabricated at all. Some aspects of the futuristic Portland where Lena lives were harsh and somewhat bleak-- the interviews and committee which decide the fates of teenagers graduating high school were particularly disturbing, and put me in mind of The Giver, another dystopian book which I liked considerably less than this one.
The romance was sweet and I liked reading Alex and Lena's conversations and what-not, even though the story itself occasionally seemed to drag. But here's the thought I keep having, the whole time I was reading: Why is Lena the MC of this book? She's alright: she's nice, ordinary, a little bit of a sheep in the beginning, though she likes Romeo and Juliet in a world where even that most innocent and beautiful of love stories is all but banned. But why is Lena the main character, when we have her best friend Hana, who's so strong and bright and passionate and vibrant? I could so seeing Hana being the girl who sneaks out to a party and meets this boy from the outskirts of society and falls deeply in love with him, and refuses to let go of her love and surrender to the cure even when everything and everyone she's ever known depends on her staying within the confines of this love-less society. Lena and Alex had good chemistry, but I can't help but think Hana and Alex would have been better-- they're both rebels, fun-loving and generally outgoing.
Despite my initial doubts about the premise, I ended up coming down with a raging case of amor deliria nervosa for this book. Delirium is beautiful and bittersweet and occasionally sad, it's lyrical and pretty much fantastic... And it reminded me of a song. I've never posted a song with a review before, nor have I really seen it done- but here it goes. The song is Resistance by Muse. Let me know if this is a weird idea in a good way, or if you think it's an epic fail!
|Muse - Resistance .mp3|
|Found at bee mp3 search engine|
Plot: 4/5Overall Rating: 4/5