Delirium – Lauren Oliver

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.

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Year: 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 5/5

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this novel from Penelope over at The Reading Fever!

Honestly, this isn't a novel I would have bought. I am not a big fan of YA romances. I don't know if this is because of my age, being well beyond my teen years I am past being interested in this kind of novel. Or, it could be because I am in a happy, stable relationship so I just don't find these rocky, "will they or won't they", "everything is standing in their way", relationships all that compelling. Just get it together, ok! In my experience, if you love someone, it really isn't all that hard.

Or, it could be because of my background as a teacher. Seeing the maturity level and behaviour of sixteen-year-old boys and girls doesn't mesh with the mature, wise beyond their years, teens we see in YA novels. I just couldn't get swept up in a YA romance, and then walk into the classroom and see the relationships my students were forming, and feel that it was "all so romantic". It wasn't. At least, not from a teachers perspective who has to deal with the fights, tantrums and emotional outbursts when it all went sour. 

Despite all that, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed this novel. I loved the dystopian aspects of this book. It is an interesting idea that love, the deliria, is seen as the cause of all pain and suffering in the world. In order to bring some peace and order, the US government develops a procedure that suppresses a persons ability to love, or feel any sort of strong emotion. Not being able to love equals not being able to hate, right? 

The procedure itself is pretty barbaric. It's basically a lobotomy. Yet the citizens of the US are brainwashed from birth about the greatness of the government and the cure. Like all typical dystopian societies, it is a crime to question the government, step out of line or even think thoughts that are against the cure. Those who refuse to have the cure, or continue to have the ability to love after their procedure, end up "disappearing". 

Lena has been brought up in this world and looks forward to getting the cure. Especially since her mother committed suicide after a bunch of failed attempts at the procedure. Once she gets the cure, everything will be good with the world. She has never questioned the procedure or the government. Love is an illness and why would she want to be sick? 

Then Lena meets Alex and her whole world changes. Suddenly, she is overcome with the deliria! and she LOVES it. How can something that feels so good, be so bad for you? 

Soon Lena finds herself not only questioning the world she knows, but she is in a situation that could cost her, her life. 

I enjoyed this book. Instead of the normal, whiny "poor me", "I can't live without my man", "life means nothing without a guy to look after me", kind of teenage girls we normally seen in YA romances, Lena is brave, strong and well-adjusted. Well, as well-adjusted as you can be living under a screwed up, controlling government. 

Even thought Lena falls in love with Alex, and they risk everything to be together, it doesn't feel over dramatic or soppy. The context of this story really does a great job of putting together a good romance story. It makes sense that they would have to sneak around and fight to be together. It doesn't feel silly and it didn't annoy the heck out of me, like most YA romances do. 

There has been come criticism of this book. Some people have labelled it a "Hunger Games" rip off, as the novel has a dystopian setting and the female protagonist is strong and fighting against the man! That is where the comparison ends and I really have no idea why you would even compare the two. 

If you want to get into it, The Hunger Games is a dead set rip off of Battle Royale. So I hardly think criticising Lauren Oliver for "not being original" is good form when your comparison is an author who didn't come up with an original idea either. Just sayin'. 

Overall, this is one of the better YA novels I have read. The writing was eloquent and the story was gripping. Oliver managed to make me care about her characters and to me, that is what makes a good writer. 

I am so happy to hear that this is the first novel in a trilogy! Especially with the way this one ended! If only I didn't have to wait for the next one to come out.... I want to read it now!

Want to grab a copy of this novel? Try Book Depository or Amazon!
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