Delirium is written by Lauren Oliver. It is the first in a trilogy. It was published in 2011 by Harper Collins. Oliver’s website can be found here.
“Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.”
~Library of Congress Summary
“Things weren’t always as good as they are now. In school we learned that in the old days, the dark days, people didn’t realize how deadly a disease love was. For a long time they even viewed it as a good thing, something to be celebrated and pursued. Of course that’s one of the reasons it’s so dangerous: It affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your own well-being. (That’s symptom number twelve, listed in the amor deliria nervosa section of the twelfth edition of The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook, or The Book of Shhh, as we call it.) Instead people back then named other disease—stress, heart disease, anxiety, depression, hypertension, insomnia, bipolar disorder—never realizing that these were, in fact, only symptoms that in the majority of cases could be traced back to the effects of amor deliria nervosa.”
“I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”
~A quote from Lena’s mother; mentioned on several pages
Warnings: Violence, kissing, swearing
Recommended Age Range: 16+
What I Liked:
I love Oliver’s writing. It’s very beautiful, very visual.
I spoiled myself about the ending of the book, but it still had very nice punch even though I knew what would happen. It certainly was not anything I was expecting. Oliver broke the YA /dystopian “rules” in that regard (although we’ll have to see what she does in the following two books).
The setting was very interesting. Oliver really has a unique concept; whether or not she succeeded (more on that in the next section) is another matter.
Lena’s character growth is noticeable and she’ll probably grow even more in the next books, something that I’m looking forward to.
I hope we see more of Grace in the next two books. I loved her, especially her part at the end.
What I Didn’t Like:
The plot was fairly predictable. But then again, in most dystopians they are. The ending, at least, was different and unexpected, as I mentioned above.
Alex is too perfect. Then again, we’re seeing him through Lena’s love struck eyes.
What is up with Hana? At the beginning she was mysterious and her true thoughts and feelings were unknown, but then she developed into this blah, one-dimensional character without any mystery at all.
We’re never told when this book takes place, but it’s safe to guess that it happens years into our future. As such, I would expect to see some improvements in technology. But there is virtually none, except for the mysterious cure (which isn’t that technologically/futuristically advanced, since they use just lasers and needles). Oliver essentially just writes a futuristic book and gives it the technology of this decade, although truth be told, it should be at least a little bit more advanced. This bothered me throughout the entire story. I’m not expecting flying cars or hoverboards, but something inventive and futuristic would be nice. Some mention of anything.
The setting seemed a bit unrealistic, as well (helped by the lack of futuristic technology. It gave it a “real” feeling that other dystopians don’t have as much of, but the setting is not “real,” obviously, which gives an odd mix of real/not-real and leaves a disconnectedness). I mean, is society ever going to declare love a disease? Not the way it portrays love now, it’s not. Also, I didn’t like the implications behind the brief history she did give us about how love was declared a disease.
Nitpicky: The Book of Shhh is redundant, since you’re essentially saying The Book of Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook.
There are about a thousand more things I would like to say in both sections, but I can’t because of spoilers. Darn. I guess I’ll have to address them as appropriate when I review the other two books…
Delirium’s plot is predictable and its setting, while interesting, has a few problems in reference to realism. However, the writing is beautiful and the characters are engaging. I’m looking forward to reading the next two books, Pandemonium and Requiem.
Coming Up Next: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown