Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult
Published: 3rd February 2011 (Hodder & Stoughton)
*WARNING: MINOR SPOILER IN FOURTH PARAGRAPH - CLEARLY MARKED*Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one 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 Holway 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.
Lena lives in a society where, at the age of eighteen, every person goes through a procedure knows as the 'Cure'. Being cured eradicates the ability to love, as love is considered an illness. Without love there's no pain. Lena is looking forward to being cured, she's even counting down the days. At least she is until she meets Alex.
The society and world that Lena lives in is explained really well in this book. Dystopian worlds are often difficult to get into as not enough description leaves the reader not understanding what's going on and too much explanation can just be a bit dull. Delirum manages to find the perfect balance. It was refreshing to see a futuristic world where not everything is highly technological. Only the very rich can afford to run a car because of the price of fuel and there's no alternative so people like Lena walk everywhere. Lena's family only has one cell phone between them which isn't even very good. The only real scientific advancement we see is the medical development of the cure.
As a character I didn't find Lena easy to warm to but in some ways that worked. Although those under the age of eighteen are able to feel love, it is highly discouraged with boys and girls are segregated at all times and a curfew for the uncured. There's also a detachment between children and their parents with something as simple as comforting a crying child being seen as a sign that the adult may not be completely cured. So, at the start of the book, Lena wasn't such a loveable character because of this. Further into the book it became easier to get attached to her and care about her outcome.
I did have a couple of small issues with the book *MINOR SPOILER ALERT* in that it was never really explained how Alex managed to not get cured and also why he didn't return to live in the wild if he disliked living in Portland so much. I'm hoping these will be explained in the next book *END OF SPOILER*
However, despite these, I really enjoyed reading the book. I'd heard a lot of hype about it before reading and I'm always a little concerned about those books living up to it but in Delirium's case I wasn't disappointed. I'm looking forward to the sequel, Pandemonium, which is due out in 2012