Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a dystopian novel (*yay!*) where everyone lives in fear of catching Amor Deliria Nervosa, what we know as being in love. Everyone has to undergo a procedure in their teens to prevent catching the disease. Lena is a 17 year old girl who can’t wait to get the procedure on her birthday so she can be safe from the disease, until she does the unspeakable; she falls in love.
I’ll admit it, at first I wasn’t sold. I didn’t quite understand a girl who would follow such strict rules and allow someone to mess with her brain that basically makes her emotionless. However, I could somewhat relate to being the good girl. Lena is the goody-two shoes and her best friend, Hana, is the rebellious one. Hana sneaks out to go to forbidden gatherings of invalids (those against the procedure) and rebellious teens at the edge of town, whereas Lena initially disapproves of her actions, but later gives in and starts hanging out with the handsome, mysterious Alex – a guy who “supposedly” has undergone the procedure. So he’s safe, right?
This novel is an echo of forbidden love everywhere. How far will you go? How hard will you fight to be with the one you love? Will you give up everything? and everyone? Not only are you forbidden to be with your significant other, you are forbidden to BE in love. It is treated as a disease where you are quarantined from others for fear it will spread. I really liked this idea. Being in love does have a lot of debilitating symptoms, and I can see how a futuristic society would want to eliminate pesky emotions so that it can run more smoothly. The idea is very believable and to me, if it isn’t believable, then it isn’t worth reading.
Although it was bothersome at times, I liked listening to Lena’s inner dialogue. She is so indecisive, as am I. It was almost suspenseful because you never knew at any given time what she would do. At each crossroads, I didn’t know whether she would follow the rules or follow her heart.
I loved the world Oliver created. I loved that the stakes kept getting higher and higher until Lena was forced to make a drastic and dramatic, last-minute decision. It was certainly a heart-pounding ending. After turning the final page, I wanted to scream “Nooo!” at the top of my lungs with tears streaming down my face. It was that good, people. This book was aptly named because after reading it, I find myself deliriously in love with Lauren Oliver’s story.
The second novel in the series “Pandemonium” by Lauren Oliver comes out March 6, 2012.