Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Book: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Source: NetGalley ARC

Synopsis: (from GoodreadsBefore scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didnâ??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 sheâ??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.

First impressions: The premise of this book is what grabbed me right away. A world where love is feared and abhorred? Let’s see where this takes us! Lena is authentic and vibrant, but I felt her world was missing something. 

Lasting impressions: The writing is what I will remember most about this book. Oliver is truly talented and some passages were so achingly beautiful that I re-read them several times. Without losing Lena’s voice, she seamlessly integrates moving observations on the world around her and what she is feeling. In a story where no feelings are good feelings, these passages truly amplify what Lena is going through.

Negative impressions: My only complaint is that I didn’t quite buy into the world Oliver created. I didn’t believe that parents could raise children without love or that people could experience emotions for 18 years and then willingly accept the robotic after effects of the treatment. I’m sure other readers will have different experiences, but for me, I just wasn’t able to accept these facts as possible (or perhaps I didn’t want to?).

Overall impressions: I thought this was an extremely well-written book with an interesting concept and fabulous characters. I was particularly fond of Lena’s relationship with her best friend, Hana, as I thought Oliver did a fantastic job representing two friends who are on the brink of growing apart forever or solidifying a lifelong relationship. She deftly handled the subtleties of how two teen girls interact in an environment of trepidation and rebellion. 

Oliver also does a marvelous job of progressing Lena’s relationship with Alex that seemed appropriate to their circumstances. While the ending has somewhat of a cliffhanger as to where this relationship goes in the future (book two of the trilogy will be released next year), it resolved enough of the action to satisfy me and provided an adequate ending to this chapter in their lives. 

Despite my reservations with accepting a world without love, the quality of Lauren Oliver’s writing cannot be commended enough. This is a great story of first love and friendship.

Rating: 4/5 stars