Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver


Lena is 16 and just as excited for the operation as the rest of society. In just a few more weeks, she’ll be cured. Deliria cannot wrap its maddening arms around her once they operate. In the olden days, love drove people to crazy lengths, but that isn’t a problem anymore. Society is perfect. That is, until she meets someone that makes her question if love is really as terrible as people believe.

This book has always been around the top in the dystopian fiction lists and young adult literature in general. For years I’ve been meaning to actually read it because its name has been plastered around every bookstore since its release. And after I read it, my thoughts weren’t even close to my initial expectations. I enjoyed the book, but I found it a bit unmemorable.

The whole love-is-a-disease thing is really original. Lauren Oliver definitely creates a world that sees love as a physical and mental ailment rather than an emotion. She flawlessly created a world where the government strongly made their people believe love is a terrible thing. The scary thing: all the “symptoms,” while exaggerated, are pretty much real. It makes the reader stop and wonder which is better: love or peace, freedom or bliss?

Delirium is a very character-driven novel to me. Lena and her best friend Hana have a relatable relationship, and Lena and her secret beau, Alex, also have a cute first love feeling. It’s interesting to read about Lena’s internal conflicts. She begins to wonder the legitimacy of the operation and if love is the thing she should worry about. She’s faced with choosing between her natural human emotions or the lies that have been fed to her since childhood. Despite the differences Lena and Hana face, it’s clear that they’d go to the ends of the earth for each other, even with everything that was at stake if they got caught.

But Lena and Alex have a very typical relationship. A gorgeous guy falling for a supposedly undesirable girl and opening her eyes to the horrors of the world. Star-crossed lovers. A forbidden romance. Sure, some of the scenes are hold-my-breath adorable/ nerve racking, but the complete premise wasn’t impressive.

Also, I found the book didn’t stay with me after I read it. Before starting my review, I had to read the book blurb again and someone else’s review to bring me back into the mindset of Lena and her world. And I know this isn’t supposed to be an earth-shattering book filled with philosophical questions and life-changing passages, but in a couple more weeks I won’t even remember what happened. The concept interested me and while I was reading I pondered questions about government and love and control, but it didn’t resonate¬†with me.

Overall, I loved the book and the idea behind it, but the plot felt predictable and the story didn’t stay with me when I finished it.

3.5 Stars




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