Thursday, December 02, 2010

REVIEW: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

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.

Wow. I really, really adored this book. Eleni at Hodder, you are my new best friend. From the very first page I was swept up into Lena's head and her life and this society where love is thought of as a disease. In many ways, Delirium was completely unexpected. I would have expected a lot more of the story to circle around the larger picture of how the country has been affected by this change in mentality towards love and the reasons it's ended up in this place, but instead it gave a more personal approach by focusing on Lena, her immediate family and on her best friend, Hana.

Each chapter begins with an excerpt of The Book of Shhh, a type of guide or Bible for this new love-free world. Delirium did feel a bit similar to Matched by Ally Condie, with the concept of romantic partnerships and jobs mandated by the heavy-handed government, but Delirium is different enough that neither book takes anything away from the other. Delirium is absolutely beautiful written and Lauren Oliver gives us a stunning and new dystopic YA read to keep you glued to its pages to find out what happens next. Lena and Alex's love for each other is so very readable and my heart ached for the pair of them.

Lena Holloway, named after Mary Magdalene, lives in a world that believes that love is a disease. An entire religion and government has been combined to create this new society that outlaws love. Love has been blamed for many evils in the world, so now, at the age of 18, everyone is given the 'cure.' Lena is just coming up to her 18th birthday and can't be more excited about her operation. She's looking forward to the simplicity of her new life after the cure. Until she meets Alex ... and falls in love.

As we spend more time with Lena we start to see the implications of living in a world without love. The obvious lack would be in romantic love after the cure, but it's also parental love, love between siblings, friendship. As readers, we begin to wonder what has happened to make so many people choose and enforce this type of procedure? Why does Lena crave the cure? And slowly, we're shown Lena's history. Her mother being uncureable, instead commits suicide in order to hold on to the love that she feels. Lena and her family are labelled 'sympathizers' and Lena has grown up with the stigma and in the shadow of her mother's choices. Even Lena's older sister had the love-disease before her operation. Lena is very afraid of being susceptible to the disease, of spinning out of control. She is afraid to follow her heart and live her life. All of her fears and uncertainties are put to the test when she falls in love with Alex!

I loved Lena and her relationship with Hana. I loved Lena and Alex together and unravelling Lena's backstory. My only slight niggle with the books would be to find out more about Alex and the things that he's been through and to hear more about the history and process of how the United States came to outlaw love. But I hope that all of that is to come in the next two books. I couldn't be more excited them than I am right now. Especially after that ending!

Delirium will be published by Hodder and Stoughton on 3rd February 2011! Don't miss out.


  1. Have heard nothing but fantastic things about this book - so glad see you validating it with your stamp of approval. It means I'm definitely going to enjoy this one then :) Excellent review - as always!

  2. Tammy - I think this book definitely deserves all the praise that it's been getting lately! It's wonderful :)


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