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.
For I while I’ve wondered about why so many people loved Delirium. It didn’t particularly appeal to me and the description never sounded that interesting. I finally caved and had to see for myself what exactly everyone was talking about. Shortly into the book, I understood. It’s not the quite the story that’s amazing but it’s the writing. It’s beautiful and so remarkably well crafted that I can hear English teachers and librarians across the country giving thanks to Lauren Oliver for writing a young adult novel of this caliber. I seriously think the writing in this novel should be studied.
In a nutshell, love is illegal in Oliver’s dystopian society. Love, also known as delirium, is considered a disease and all citizens must undergo surgery to cure them for the delirium by the age of 18. Lena, the main character, is almost 18 and is looking forward to the day she is cured. The argument against love is that it is the cause of many of the worlds problems. “It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.” Rebels are imprisoned, killed, and beaten by the enforcers of the law. It’s hard to imagine our society ever banning love but Oliver makes her world is believable and surprisingly realistic. Even as I describe this book I don’t feel like I’m doing it much justice. I assure you there is more to Delirium than what I’ve described.
One of the things I enjoyed about Delirium was the way the author describes love. Yes it is a book about love, but Oliver clearly paints the positives and negative sides. She describes both sides so well that you root for the rebels and understand why love is banned and law is so forcefully upheld. For most of the book, Lena, is just discovering love. She is happy when she is with Alex, constantly smiling and laughing; and when she is away she feels the pain of missing him. Their secret love keeps them living in fear of being discovered. As Lena treads deeper into love, she begins to see the flaws in her society and how meaningless life is without love. People who have been cured seem to be without a soul and the society Lena once found comfort in, becomes a future she cannot bear without Alex.
Overall, I finally see what everyone is talking about it. It’s a wonderful yet painful love story. You could say the Delirium has taken over me and now that it’s over it hurts. Upon finishing Delirium, I immediately bought the second book in the series and 20 minutes later I listening to Pandemonium. It ends on such a cliffhanger that I couldn’t wait to find what happened next.