Readership: Young adult
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 government 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.
I have no idea why it took me so long to read this. It has everything I love: dystopia, a good romance, and a great main character. But I put it off, and I put it off. Finally I decided to dive in. I'm glad I did.
At first, I was a little uncomfortable with the world of Delirium. Let me explain. A world without love? A world where it's viewed as a disease? I can see why but it still makes my stomach turn. It's baffling to think of a world without it. What about all the music, all the books, the movies, the television shows? Love is a big part of the world, an integral part, and to have that gone? "Cured"? It's insane. Inhumane. Wrong. But that's the world of Delirium. And people seem happy with it; to walk around as living zombies with veils over their eyes. They live in a fog. They don't even love their children. When they scrape their knees, they don't ask them if they're alright and wipe away their tears. They bark at the child to get up. It's insane to me, to imagine a world like that in Delirium. Lauren Oliver weaved it well, though. I could almost imagine being in it, being in Portland, surrounded by the boarder, fenced in like an animal. I'd like to think I would be a resister, or maybe even an Invalid on the other side, living in the Wilds.
In the beginning, I wasn't keen on Lena. She seemed to be trying to hard to fit into the mold of who she thought she should be; quiet, happy for the cure, obedient. She was trying hard to conform to who society needed her to be but she's not that person. It was nice to see her grown and come to realize who she was, and who she didn't want to be. 'I'd rather die my way than live yours' is something she says towards the end which really made me absolutely love her. I can't even imagine being in her shoes, having to choose which life to live: the one she wants to or the one that everyone around her expects her to. Lena is well written. She's someone a reader will really root for.
Alex.... I don't know where to begin on him. He had me the second he appeared in the story. Alex is a fantastic male lead. He opened Lena's eyes to the world. He showed her that the life the Cureds lead is no life at all. He showed her that there is more. Their romance is fantastic. It's a steady, realistic build up and then it just grips you and you find yourself hoping, praying and making deals with crossroad demons that they get a happy ending.
Lauren Oliver did a fantastic job. Her writing is absolutely stunning. I ended up with dozens of sticky tabs poking out of my copy because there were just so many quotes that I wanted to remember. She also does a fantastic job of creating a dystopian world that seems real; a world that could be a reality sometime in the near or distant future. It creates a sense of foreboding and unease that I talked about in the beginning. To live in a world where you cannot love, in a world there people cannot love you; it's a horrifying idea. Love is what makes us, shapes us. Whether it's romantic love, familial love or the love you have for a book or a movie or a song. There is none of that in this world. Lauren did such an amazing job that you could close your eyes and almost be in that world. She made it so that you felt like you could visit this world and feel the unease, see the fog in people's eyes. Some dystopians feel unrealistic and silly; this is not one of them. Delirium was a thrill ride that left me on the edge of my seat. Don't even get me started on the ending! I need to start Pandemonium right away.