Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Delirium

By Lauren Oliver
Publication date: February 1, 2011

My review:

In an alternative United States, modern science has declared love a deadly disease and the government has mandated the cure for all its citizens once they turn 18. People believe that they are better off after going through the operation and Lena Haloway who will be turning 18 at the end of the summer can't wait to be cured. Her mother contracted the disease known as amor delirium nervosa and it led her to commit suicide. Lena has always lived by the rules, afraid that she too could become like her mom. To her, the cure will let her be like everyone else. Then on the day of her evaluation, Lena meets Alex and her world is shaken. He represents everything Lena fears and he challenges her to question what she has always believed to be true about love and the rules she lives by. Soon Lena finds herself lying and breaking rules to be with Alex and she begins to exhibit symptoms of the disease. She no longer wants to be cured but what other option does she have?

Delirium is a thought provoking utopian novel along the same vein as Matched by Ally Condie or The Giver by Lois Lowry. The world that Lena lives in is a frightening place where adults have been lobotomized. Not only romantic love but also familial love is absent from those who are "cured". They no longer show affection for their parents, siblings, or friends. Their lives are passionless and uniform. In contrast, the young people who are "uncured" show compassion and have dreams. 

Lena is a sympathetic heroine. She is an orphan and she is somewhat ostracized by members of her community because of her mother's suicide. The caring that she shows to her young cousin Grace, also an orphan, is touching especially compared to the way the rest of the family treats Grace.  In some ways, Lena is reminiscent of Gabrielle from The Dead Tossed WavesAt times I was a little frustrated with Lena because she seemed so afraid to even listen to the "wrong kind" of music but after she meets Alex and begins to change, I liked her more and more. 

There is a similarity between Delirium and Matched by Ally Condie but Delirium raises the stakes. The characters in Matched signed over their decision making to the powers in charge but they are still capable of love and families care about each other. In Delirium the citizens don't get to make very many choices but in addition to that must submit to a procedure that alters who they are completely and leaves them incapable of love. This adds an intensity to the romance between Lena and Alex because time is running out for them. The world building was also superb and almost made me wish for a sequel. With this novel Lauren Oliver proves again that she is a talented author who can write spellbinding and emotional novels that stay with you long after the last page.

Readalikes: Matched by Ally Condie, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Note: I received an ARC of this book for review as part of an ARC tour from Around the World Tours


  1. Great review, Christina! I really enjoyed this one a lot. The world that Lauren Oliver created was so incredible :)

  2. Great review! I'm even more excited to read Delirium now. :-)

  3. I totally agree while I like Matched Delirium is way better and I am so in love with Oliver's writing. Such a huge talent.


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