Friday, May 20, 2011

Read This: Delirium

by Lauren Oliver

The Short Story 
Lena lives in a world where love is a disease. When her mother was infected and met a horrible end, Lena was left to be raised by her aunt. She's waited her whole life to turn 18 and receive the "cure," a surgery that will keep her from the disease. With only a couple of months before her birthday, Lena meets Alex. Suddenly love doesn't seem like such a bad thing, after all.

Come for the...
love. I loved this book. I loved watching Lena fall in love. Oliver does a great job of describing what it's like in the beginning of a relationship when your brain turns to mush and you go around in a giddy haze. One of my favorite scenes was when Alex visited Lena at work on the sly. It reminded me so much of when I was dating my husband and wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. Not that I don't still feel that way, just that that level of mania calms down after a while. But who doesn't want to relive those feelings?

Is Delirium very similar to Matched, Uglies, and The Giver? Indubitably. But I was ok with that because I liked the characters and could feel what they were feeling. You probably won't be surprised by much of the book, but I don't think that's necessary to enjoy it. Like Matched, the real "bad guy" of the story seems to be people themselves. I don't think it's hard to imagine individuals being hurt so badly in relationships that they would choose to feel nothing instead. Just like the description of first love, the reminder of risk and hurt felt very true to life.
Stay for the
supporting characters, like Hana and Grace; the motorcycle; the sequel, Pandemonium, out in early 2012.

Don't think about this too hard
  • I can buy that individual people would want to be "cured" so that they never felt love or pain again, but the idea does fall apart a bit in trying to imagine an entire government would enforce it. Also, the government seemed to punish displays of romantic love but not any of the other types. I'm not sure why.
  • I've seen the writing described as beautiful and descriptive, but it felt wordy in places. Some of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were like that, too. They stopped the flow of the story for me.

The Big Three
Language: Some swearing, including a couple of f-words
Sex and Stuff: a lot of fairly descriptive kissing/making out and toplessness
Violence: a couple of violent scenes but nothing is described or gory


  1. This book sounds awesome! I love dystopian stuff, especially when its different from anything I've read before, and this sounds different. I haven't read Matched or Uglies, but I did read The Giver in elementary school and I loved it :) Thanks for the heads up on the content of the book, language and all that. Awesome review, keep it up!

    -Kate the Book Buff
    The Book Buff: Book Reviews for Regular People

  2. Great review, kathy! I loved Delirium as well. I don't think that a story needs to be totally unique to be awesome, it's how the story is being told that matters.

  3. I loved this book as well. I am really drawn to way Lauren Oliver writes and can't wait for her next book!
    Truly Bookish

  4. This is a great review! I haven't read this book yet, although I want to. I've read Before I Fall and I'm impressed with Lauren Oliver's writing. It's on my TBR list!

  5. Kate if you haven't read any of those this will probably seem pretty unique. I love the idea of a dystopia, so hopefully this one won't disappoint.

    Ladybug I agree!

    Truly Bookish I'm excited for the next one, too. I didn't even realize this was going to be a trilogy.

    Katie I liked Before I Fall, too. I wondered if this one was going to feel like the same thing, but it's definitely different. Lena is nothing like the girls in Before I Fall, so I was impressed. :)

  6. Oh wow. You sold me. I'm off to Goodreads to add this to my TBR.