Delirium, by Lauren Oliver


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Author’s website
Publication date: February 1, 2011

Summary: (Taken 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.

Thoughts: From beginning to end, this book captivated me, didn’t let me out of its clutches, and I enjoyed the entire ride, even when the ending left me with a numb hollow feeling of seeing something more bitter than sweet but still very powerful.

Stories about love being identifies as a disease are not new, but this one was done so wonderfully that I barely paid attention to the fact that this idea has been done a dozen times before. The story had a surprising twist to the old idea, though; where most stories that take that idea only focus on the elimination of romantic or sexual love, Delirium went whole hog and even had familial love be outlawed and viewed as an expression of disease. From marital partners being assigned by government agencies to parents not conforting a crying child, all expressions of affection are viewed as shameful and wrong, sick and twisted and detrimental to humanity as a whole.

It was chilling to see, especially when done so subtly and deeply as to pervade every piece of the book’s society — one which, I might add, is very close to our own, evidently set in the not-too-distant future. This book makes it clear that this is the sort of thing that could very well happen if anyone ever discovered a surefire way to eliminate love. That society is just as obsessed with love as our own, only from the opposite end of the spectrum.

Lauren Oliver style is smooth, evenly-paced, and she has a real knack for capturing some of the less-easily-defined aspects of emotion and thought, some of the more obstract expressions of things that we think and feel in life but can’t always put words to in the moment. She can pull off being shocking, sweet, heart-poundingly scary, heartbreak… I fell into the main character and her way of thinking and speaking with great ease, something which isn’t always easy to accomplish when I’m reading a book intended for an audience a decade younger than me.

I heartily recommend this book, to fans of YA novels, speculative fiction, and those who enjoy a good heartbreaking love story. This is definitely a book I can say that I feel privileged to have read. If you have the chance, don’t let the opportunity to read it pass you by!

This book was provided from the publisher via NetGalley)

One comment on “Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

  1. This is definitely the type of book that evokes a myriad of emotions. While I thought it did share a lot of story elements with other dystopian books, the amount of heart and fluidity of the writing really made it stand out!

    Can't wait for Lauren's next book. :D

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