Friday, February 25, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

"Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.

Before and after—and during, a moment no bigger or longer than an edge."
Delirium is the second book by young adult author Lauren Oliver, the story of a dystopian world where love is a disease and a cure has been developed. Lena Holoway lost her mother to love, after three attempts at treatment she was still suffering from the deliria and ended up killing herself as an escape. Lena lives with her aunt and two cousins who are also orphans because their parents were sympathizers- people who believed that love is a good thing. Counting down the days til her eighteenth birthday when she will finally be free to live a safe life, cured, everything changes when Lena meets Alex and only a couple months before her treatment falls in love.

Although I love dystopia trend permeating young adult literature, I am always a little skeptical when a book receives a lot of hype and so going into Delirium I was hesitant about having my expectations too high. I needn't have worried. Delirium is an excellent and original novel, captivating the reader immediately. Oliver uses her dystopian world to tell a powerful story about falling in love for the first time, and the emotions that Lena has are completely believable. Lena is a really interesting main character, as she repeatedly describes herself as being someone ordinary, ordinary brown hair and brown eyes, nothing remarkable or special about her. But when Lena falls in love, she forgets she is ordinary, the feelings she has make her feel beautiful. It was an extremely realistic portrayal of what falling in love is like, and I loved the edge of danger given to the story due to the fact that what Alex and Lena are doing- falling in love- is illegal.

Another aspect I really enjoyed about Delirium was the world that Oliver created. She begins each chapter of the novel with a quote from some of the government propaganda, and although some of the things are quite similar to contemporary times- Romeo and Juliet is still being taught in schools for example- the messages they give is quite different, as the Shakespeare play is seen as a cautionary tale for what can happen when you get infected. I also found it interesting, though logical, that things such as poetry and most forms of music no longer existed. Instead of the Bible, people have the Book of Shh, which includes such proverbs as "The most dangerous sicknesses are those which make us believe we are well.", referring of course, to deliria.

Delirium is an extremely exciting and captivating story, filled with unique and interesting characters including Lena's best friend, as well as her sister and cousins. I found it really easy to understand the world Oliver had created, and it was also totally believable how it could come into existence- as well as scary- making it a very successful dystopia. Oliver's writing was also excellent, and I am already excited to pick up her debut, Before I Fall, in the near future. Delirium is the first of a trilogy, and unfortunately like most such books it ends on a cliffhanger, and so the only complaint I have about the book is that I'll have to wait till 2012 to read the sequel, Pandemonium, and believe me, my expectations are certainly raised for that novel.

Release Date: February 1st, 2011
Pages: 441
: 5/5

Source: Publisher
Buy the Book


  1. I was hesitant about this one at first too. As much as I've been enjoying the dystopia genre, I'm waiting for the day when I get to the one that sends me over the edge and I say, "OK, that's it. There's nothing more original anyone can do with this genre."

    That certainly wasn't the case with Delirium.

  2. I totally loved this book. And thought the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were so intriguing. I want to read the Book of Shh.

  3. I'm glad you liked it...even though I wasn't completely sold. ;) But I forgot to mention the pieces before the chapters in my own review! I loved them and thought they really added a lot of depth to the story!


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