Love can be painful. It can make people do crazy things. It can be the root of all of humanity’s problems. Like a disease, once love gets in the system, it is nearly impossible to stop. To eradicate such problems, scientists have come up with a cure for love or deliria. In this dystopian world, the government requires all citizens to receive the cure upon turning 18. Lena Holoway has seen the horror the delirium can cause and is excited about receiving the cure so she can be free from the side effects of love. But days before she is about to be cured, Lena falls in love.
She meets Alex, an Invalid (a person who is over 18 and has not been cured). He lives in the Wilds, the lands outside of the electric fenced cities with other uncured people who hope to usurp the government and make love legal again.
Check out this cool interactive book trailer from Oliver’s website!
What I liked:
- This should be a What I LOVED section because I absolutely ADORE this book!!!!
- If you’ve read other reviews of this book, you may already have gleaned that Lauren Oliver writes in the most beautiful prose. Her descriptions are so perfect. Her words manage to be gorgeous without going over the top.
- Oliver writes with EXCELLENT pathos (emotional appeal). Her stories create this sweet ache in your heart that no other stories can. She draws you in, makes you hers, and keeps you for the entire story. There are too many memorable passages to quote but here’s an effort:
- I love the concept. There are a lot of similar dystopian novels out there like Ally Condie’s Matched, but Delirium is my favorite by a mile. I just find the world Oliver created to be extremely fascinating. She even inserts little excerpts from the government’s Book of Shhh at the beginning of every chapter for an especially authentic feel. Apparently Oliver thought of the novel while watching a news story about a plague (love is considered plague-like in the novel) and that she’d read an article about how all books were either about love or death. Her first book was about death so she decided to make her second about love.
- Lena is an OUTSTANDING character. I recently listed her as one of my top five favorite YA heroines.
- Oliver paces the novel (and series) very well
- There was just enough adventure and adrenaline-inducing moments mixed with lovey-dovey moments to give good balance
What I didn’t like:
- When I just read the first book, I was infuriated at the cliffhanger. After reading the other two books in the trilogy, I feel more satisfied, but how DARE Oliver play with my heart?! Maybe love really is a bad thing…
- The beginning didn’t really grab me. I just kept chugging along because I’d heard such great things about the book. I have little patience for slow-starting books because I feel like since DAY ONE my teachers drilled into us that the beginning of anything should be an attention-grabber. YET so many of the books I read do not follow this guideline.
But back to the good stuff:
Reading Oliver’s words feels like falling in love. It holds a special place in my heart because of the emotional attachment I have to the profound words Oliver shares and the beautiful characters she creates. I can’t get enough of this book. I read it a while back and just now caught up on the last two books in the series. (And by caught up I mean I obsessively devoured them).
I usually become very cynical about authors writing trilogies. I feel like it’s a trend in YA.
I’m torn between yelling: Whatever happened to just writing one, solid, awesome book?! Just stop
And PLEASE GIVE ME MORE!
In Delirium’s case, I think Oliver had planned the series enough that it felt very necessary and natural. Like I said, Oliver is a master at pacing stories so I enjoyed the trilogy and the themes it introduced along the way.
I don’t know how academic this book is, but I would really like to have a classroom discussion about it. There are so many FANTASTIC ideas raised in the novels that would make for rich discussions or essays. Oliver has even provided a discussion guide for the first book on her website here:
If you’ve read the novel, please feel free to comment on your experience or share any discussion questions you think may be useful in a book club or classroom.
Finally, MOVIE/ TV Rumors:
According to the ever-reliable Internet, Fox had optioned a pilot for the trilogy, but it never got picked up. Rumors indicated that Emma Roberts (who I am not a fan of) had been cast as Lena and Daren Kagasoff from The Secret Life of the American Teenager (which I am also not a fan of) had been cast as Alex. Obviously, I am ecstatic that this TV show never came to fruition. I just think that so much of Delirium hinges on Oliver’s beautiful words that an adaptation in film could never do it justice.
Lauren Oliver has written other books for the Delirium trilogy about the secondary characters that are featured in the book. I haven’t read them yet because I can never decide if I want to read what could feel like Fan Fiction or just leave it to my imagination. Who am I kidding? I’m obsessed. I’ll read them.
Oliver has written many other books including her debut novel Before I Fall that is another savory piece of YA, like Delirium. It’s about a girl who relives the day she died every day for a week. Not my usual bag, but I loved it.
Find out more about other books Oliver has written here:
- Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver (grownupbookreports.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver (talkingbookworm.com)
- Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver (mybookopinions.wordpress.com)