Book Review: Delirium
Published by: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 1st, 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Suitable for ages 12 and up
Source: ARC from HarperTeen via NetGalley
*Notice: I knew nothing about this book when I began reading it and I strongly believe that I had the best reading experience because of that. I experienced everything with full shock value, and that kept my mind reeling. So, if you know nothing about Delirium, stop now. Do not read this review. Do not read any reviews or summaries of the book. Simply go out and buy this book as soon as it hits the book store shelf, and dive in. Trust me, you will not be disappointed! This is a definite MUST READ, but while there are no spoilers in this review, the experience is so much richer if you go in blind. Then come back to me…and let’s talk about it! Yes, you will most surely want to talk when you finish this book. It will be a burning desire to share your thoughts. I’ll be here, and I can’t wait to hear what you think of Delirium!
If you’re still reading, then I assume that you already know what Delirium is about or you have already read it…or you are just too stubborn to take my advice. So here we go….
From John Lennon, “Imagine there's no countries/ It isn't hard to do/ Nothing to kill or die for/ And no religion too/ Imagine all the people/ Living life in peace...” Now, imagine that in order to attain this state of world peace that John Lennon imagined…we had to develop, and embrace, a cure for love. Would it be worth the trade? This is the world that Lauren Oliver presents us with in Delirium. We are presented with a world of peace. Scientists have developed a cure for the most deadly of diseases, the disease that causes violence, and war; the disease that makes people unhappy and eventually kills us all….love. In this world, the government protects the people by segregating boys and girls as much as possible until they are able to receive the cure at the age of 18. Teens must take tests in order to determine their future careers, and are put through a rigorous interview process in order to lay out a path for the rest of their lives, including a suitable match and a family plan. The government has even re-worked modern religion and science together into a new religion that details the horrors of the disease and why such government care is needed. This is a peaceful world. Everyone is happy. The instances of the cure not working are rare, and the government’s efforts to protect the people are appreciated and accepted, and even praised… in most cases.
This is the world that Lena is born into. When we meet Lena, she is looking forward to the cure. She doesn’t question the teachings of the Book of Shhh, and she is anxious to get through her interviews and receive her list of potential matches and her life’s plan. But on the day of her interview, she stumbles. She slips in her rehearsed answers. Luckily, chaos breaks out disrupting the interview process and Lena is granted another chance. Unfortunately for Lena, that second chance also opens her up to a world that she never knew existed. She meets Alex and things start to change. She discovers that the world she has grown up in, the world she believes in, may not be the world that she wants to remain in. What happens to the people who fall in love, the people that the cure does not work for? Is this world worth the loss of love? Once Lena has experienced love, will she be willing to accept the cure and lose Alex forever?
Lauren Oliver does such a beautiful job of creating this world that as a reader, I was drawn in immediately. I was shocked and appalled by the writings of the Book of Shhh and the utter control of the government. The hopeless romantic in me balked at the idea of a world void of love. And yet I could not turn away from Lena. Lena is such a believable character. She is easy to identify with, and impossible to forget. I became Lena while I was reading. I felt everything she was feeling. I fell for Alex just as hard as Lena did, and the thought of Lena going in for her cure broke my heart. I could not get enough of this story. I was completely and totally wrapped up in this world emotionally, and the twist at the end left me reeling. The last book (series, actually) I read that I could not get out of my mind like this were The Hunger Games books. These characters stayed with me, my mind refusing to leave the story. Like The Hunger Games, I had to question so many things about life, and love, and loss. The need to talk to someone about what I read was immense. I literally could not step away from Delirium. I cannot wait for this book to be released so I can finally discuss it in depth! Although Delirium is the first book in a trilogy (which is a huge plus for me as I am sort of a series addict), it is definitely strong enough to stand alone. Delirium is, without a doubt, a 5 star “Couldn’t put it down!” book for me.
Summary 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.