Synopsis: (Taken from Amazon.com) What if love were a disease? There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure. Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway 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 then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable.
Delirium was written by award winning author Lauren Oliver, who wrote popular YA novel Before I Fall. I have heard a lot of wonderful things about Lauren Oliver’s work and have owned Before I Fall for months now, yet Delirium was my first true experience with this new author. When I heard that Delirium was a dystopian novel, I had to read it and pushed it to the front of my “to be read” pile. Delirium was a bit different as it wasn’t a focus on futuristic devices as I’ve seen in many other dystopian novels. Delirium plays with your mind, making a very realistic world and made the thought of such a strict government all the more scary. What is America without its freedom? In the future, the United States of America is extremely regulated and partnerships are made; and made without love You see, love is a disease and a disease to be feared.
The book is about a naive young girl named Lena (short for Magdalena) and she is preparing for her evaluations. She has never had a boyfriend, nor has she ever had any real interest in having one. Gender mixing is not allowed, not until people are “cured” but even then, they are usually already paired and married; destined to spend their life with a stranger. The evaluations are a time to impress the judges as they will set up each person with a fitting partner as well as decide what their future careers will be. The evaluations are meant to impress and people spend a long time in preparation for this special event.
What bothered me most about this dystopian world is the relationship between parent and child. When the government removes the feelings of love from a person’s brain through “the” operation, this also prevents loving feelings for their own children. Although the children grow up with the capacity to love, they grow up not feeling it in return. Isn’t that absolutely horrific? Lena was, in a sense, blessed. The operation failed on her mother and Lena grew up very loved and had a very different relationship with her mother than was normally allowed.
Years after Lena’s mother’s suicide — she begins to question everything. Enter Alex — a cured. Is life without love really a life worth living?
Although it took me a while to really get into the book — once Lena meets Alex and they begin to spend time together, I couldn’t put the book down. Lena’s transformation and character growth is amazing. Delirium is a thought provoking read and worth the add to your “must-read” dystopian collection. Although the beginning is stuffed with background information, it is worth pushing through and getting to the real meat of the story. I recommend picking up Delirium. You will love it.