Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Book: Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Series or Stand-Alone: Series, Delirium Trilogy #1
Pages: 441
Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
Purchase A Copy: Amazon | Book Depository
Preview: On Google Books
Publication Date: December 1st, 2009
How I Got This Book: Purchased
Description (From Goodreads): 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 governments 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.
Holy heart palpitations batman! Delirium by Lauren Oliver was pure insanity. Please forgive me for this gush-fest, but oh my goodness Delirium swept me off my feet.

I am not going to talk about the characters in great detail, because while they were amazing, they are not what kept me flipping pages like a crazy person. Lena is a teenage girl who has always played by the rules. She has always lived in fear of standing out – all she has ever wanted is to be normal. She is terrified of falling in love and wants nothing more than to be “cured”.

Lena expresses her feeling on the subject within the first few pages of the book and this is what initially sucked me in. The idea of a teenage girl being desperately afraid of falling in love was so intriguing to me. I can never remember a time that I did not want to fall in love. It’s something all girls dream about – everyone wants to love and be loved.

The loveless world that Oliver creates is both fascinating and terrifying at the same time.  Those who are cured never show any genuine affection and everyone acts like a Stepford wife.  The adults do not even have hobbies they love – Lena is warned that she may not feel the urge to run anymore, something that she has always found comfort it. It is really a chilling concept and you cannot help but feel desperate for Lena to somehow escape.

Like I said before, Lena has always feared deliria, but somehow it sneaks up on her. When Lena meets Alex, she initially avoids him at all costs. She has never been a loud to interact with boys; everyone is segregated until they are “cured”.  Eventually she gives in and is opened up to a whole other world. She begins to see what the world has to offer and she is left questioning her entire existence.

While the plot and the characters were all beautifully written, what really makes this book standout is the emotional reaction it evokes.  I was literally on an emotional roller-coaster as I followed Lena’s progression throughout the story. I particularly enjoyed watching her reactions as she was introduced to real music – the kind that settles deep inside your bones. You have no choice but to feel emotionally invested in the outcome. Lena goes through a number of highs and lows and I was right there with her the entire time. I felt the joyful excitement of first love and the bitter hollowness of disappointment, grief and loss. I swear to you, I am pretty sure I had a few minor heart attacks while reading this one.

Honestly, there is nothing I can say that is going to do this book justice. You simply have to see, read and feel it for yourself. I can tell you this; I am already aching for the next book in the series. I nearly cried when I realized I had finished the last page and now had to wait to see what happens next.

Favorite Quotes
"Hearts are fragile things. That's why you have to be so careful." (pg. 8)
"No wonder the regulators decided on segregation of boys and girls: Otherwise, it would have been a nightmare, this feeling angry and self-conscious and confused and annoyed all the time." (pg. 63)
"I know what the problem is, of course. The disorientation, the distraction, the difficulty focusing - all classic Phase One signs of deliria. But I don't care. If pneumonia felt this good I'd stand out in the snow in the winter with bare feet and no coat, or march into the hospital and kiss pneumonia patients." (pg. 237)
"They told us that love was a disease.  They told us that it would kill us in the end. For the first time I realize that this too, might be a lie." (pg. 280)
"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." (pg. 301)


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Awesome review, Sarah! I absolutely loved Delirium, and I'm so glad to hear you did, too. It's definitely one of the best dystopians I've read in a while :)

Annette Mills said...

I can relate to the heart attack thing. I remember feeling my heart POUND in my chest during parts of this book. There aren't many books I can say that about.

Great review.

Anonymous said...

I definitely had some heart palpitations after reading this one too! I cannot wait for the next book!

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