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Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium Trilogy) by Lauren Oliver
Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Hardcover (HARPERCOLLINS, 448 pages, $17.99)
ISBN# 0061726826

Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.
Author Site: laurenoliverbooks.com/

If you're good at suspending disbelief... (3 stars)

The last thing Lena wants to catch is amor deleria nervosa, the disease known as love. Since scientists have come up with a procedure that cures the evil that is love it's only a matter of turning eighteen and she'll be safe. Before the cure there was chaos in the world and now there is peace, even if America has cut itself off from the rest of the world. Electrified fences guard the peaceful town of Portland from the Wilds and the rumored Invalids who dwell out there. All Lena has to worry about now is doing well at her evaluation so she can be paired with a suitable spouse and counting down the days until the danger of love is a thing of the past.

But she hides a big secret. Her mother, despite multiple procedures, was never cured. She was willing to die after the last one rather than give up on love. Tainted by this stain on the family name the last thing Lena should do is find herself doing—just weeks before she will be paired with another—is falling in love.

Conceptually I am loving this book. I am a huge fan of dystopian plots where emotion has become an enemy. I absolutely LOVE the film Equlibrium and thought this story would be much in the same vein. Consider this a much tamer and far less actiony spin on that basic story. Oliver has created a world where love is essentially the root of all evil. Until they are cured at a safe age of eighteen girls and boys are seperated from one another to prevent contraction. But still it sometimes happens.

Lena is a character I liked but didn't love. Some of her reactions and choices didn't make sense to me considering the world building. The world building was also an issue for me. I had a hard time believing that America and Portland (etc.) were so completely isolated. Many things like cell phones and internet didn't seem really workable with the world building and kept making me pick apart the world when I should have been absorbing and enjoying the story itself. If you're a reader who does this frequently you might find it makes the whole thing unravel. Even so if you can suspend disbelief the heart of the story, censorship, the many facets and types of love, sacrifice, control, fear... it's all very good.

I can't lie. I had a hard time finishing Delirium after a certain point. It was the picking apart the world and the many questions it aroused (ie. if these communities are so isolated where do their food/movies/clothing come from?) that did me in. I wish I could have gotten past it because the final chapter was amazing. The final paragraph especially resonated with me and left me sad that I didn't enjoy the whole book. If you're a fan of romance and young adult dystopian novels looking for a somewhat less dark (as in starving, fighting, zombies, wars) read than most this worth reading.

Other Reviews:

Darren of Bart's Bookshelf

Notes: I received this as an unsolicited ARC from the publisher.

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