Goodreads rating: 4.02
My rating: 4.5 stars
Having read this series once before, I already knew what would happen, but I read it when it first came out, so I forgot almost everything that happened and I wasn’t a big fan of it at first. Now that I’ve read it again, I realise that before, I read it at the wrong point in my life. I’ve changed quite a bit since Junior year in high school (I should hope so, anyway). I actually loved this book this time around, but for all the reasons I didn’t like it back when I first read it, ironically enough. I’ll start off by mentioning that while this is a “teen” book, it seemed a little bit young and overly optimistic given the circumstances; I can definitely understand why, but as someone considered a “new adult” currently, I can tell you that people aren’t this optimistic generally. Some people are, but it’s very rare, especially in a situation like these books describe, where love is illegal.
Lena is a high school-aged girl growing up in this world with her best friend, Hana, and they both seem to be looking forward to the day where they’re cured of amor deliria nervosa, or love, as we know it. But when Hana starts attending parties and listening to forbidden music, Lena starts growing suspicious of how Hana really feels about it. Then she sees him. At the worst possible time, in the worst possible place, she sees a boy about her age – obviously cured, but she can’t stop thinking about him. After a series of events that involved sabotaging the interviews for who will be paired with whom and what jobs these high schoolers will take once they’ve graduated, Lena finds that she’s falling for Alex. Maybe Hana is right, the cure isn’t as good as it sounds.
Overall, Lauren Oliver delivered this story beautifully – it was a lovely concept, but terrifying at the same time. I can imagine some people would flourish in a world where love is illegal and cured like it’s a disease, but there are also people who wouldn’t. Personally, I’d much rather live in the Wilds where people are uncured and are free to do as they please, so long as the regulators don’t catch them. Reading this book was like jumping into that universe; the characters had realistic emotions for the most part and you really get a feeling for what they’re going through while reading. Delirium was an excellent set up for the next book with the cliffhanger ending (definitely be prepared to need to read the next book if you finish and enjoy this one). Since this is the first book, it definitely hints at what’s to come but isn’t heavy on the action and starts out moderately paced, which is nice, since you really get to know the world and the characters before jumping into the politics and action later on in the book. It slowly builds up pace towards the middle and by the end, the pages are turning as fast as you can read them.
Just like the pacing, the romance also builds slowly, allowing the chemistry between the characters to really form before they decide to be sort of a couple. As that happens, Lena learns more and more about herself, and with her cure date like a guillotine on the horizon, she finds that she has to make a decision. Love (and how it changes us) is definitely the biggest theme in this story and it delivers that message in a way that is easy to understand – some people can’t handle the idea of losing what they love, so they cut it all off, but some people hold on tightly to the belief that no matter what happens they will find a way to be happy and loved, so they do everything they can to make it happen. Many people fall in the middle, but for teens especially, it’s a difficult time to be growing up because they don’t always know what they’re feeling and I think Delirium addresses that very thoughtfully without having to state it outright.
On top of all that, it has a great message and even though it is somewhat unrealistically optimistic, it’s a book that makes you feel so happy reading it a lot of times. Horrible things happen, but parts in between that are like little rays of sun where it gives you the warm & fuzzies. I don’t know, maybe I’ve gotten a lot more ‘free love’ since the first time I read this, but I do think that that sort of ‘free love’ message that continues throughout this book is important to teach in this day and age where everyone is huddled up with their technology and won’t take a moment to look up from the screens and think about the real world and real issues. If we all took a moment to really think about what is going on in the world and just try to understand other people’s worldview, we wouldn’t have nearly as many problems as we do.
10 keywords/phrases about this book: dystopian, romance, warm-fuzzies, chemistry, intriguing fictional politics, worldbuilding, LOVE, teen, awesome buildup, cliffhanger
Recommended for fans of: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Matched by Allyson Condie, Uglies by Scott Westerfield, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken,