The first book in Lauren Oliver’s New York Times bestselling trilogy about forbidden love, revolution, and the power to choose. In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn't about to make the same mistake.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government's radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?
In her sophomore novel, Oliver (Before I Fall) presents an intriguing but disappointing thought experiment, set in a dystopian future in which American borders are sealed and civil order is enforced by regulation, vigilantism, and "the procedure," a coming-of-age lobotomy that excises amor deliria nervosa, or love. Nearly 18, Lena Haloway welcomes the prospect; her mother underwent three unsuccessful procedures and eventually committed suicide, so Lena deeply believes that love equals suffering. Still, there's a subversiveness to her thoughts and actions, from nurturing the motherless child Gracie to reading Romeo and Juliet because it is "beautiful," not the cautionary tale it's presented as. When a strange, handsome boy begins to intrude on her life, strictly against the regulations, the "beauty" of that tragic trope begins to play out swiftly and relentlessly. The prose is accomplished, and the Portland, Maine, setting wonderfully evoked. However, Oliver's nightmare future lacks a visceral punch, primarily because of the weakness of the world-building. Her America has undergone a seismic shift, but the economic, religious, and cultural ramifications are all but ignored. Ages 14 up.
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I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I find dystopian literature interesting, but very hard to get through. I almost always have to put the book down after each chapter or so because I'm so angry or scared. Dystopian societies are frightening. Which is why I rarely read them. When I do, I read a lot of reviews on the book to make sure it is worth the emotional roller coaster I will most likely be going on. This one intrigued me because not only are people oppressed, but they think it's the only way. They want to be cured. The population is brainwashed through the government's control of communication. By controlling what people read, watch, listen to, etc., the government convinced people that love (deliria) is a terrible disease. Without love, people don't feel the need to die unnecessarily or fight for anything. It's probably the strongest emotion a human can have. However, the idea that people are forced to undergo a surgery to never love, that pains me. This book was so hard to get through because I was so shocked at the cruelty of it. Those who knew the truth about it were severely punished or killed (usually the latter).
Lena is a seventeen yr old girl who is looking forward to being cured at the end of the summer. She always follows the rules, and believes that the government and the cure are protecting her from a painful death. She wants nothing more than to live her life without the fear of contracting deliria. Her transformation in the book was slow and gradual. Written through her POV, the reader sees the uncertainty and fear in her. She started scared, insecure, and very ignorant. As the story progresses she finds love, learns the truth, and finds strength in having her own mind. Alex, an Invalid, was born in the Wilds and moved around a lot. He falls in love with Lena, forcing her to rethink everything about herself, essentially a mild identity crisis. Alex teaches Lena about love and how it's those who can't love that aren't really living. He opens her eyes. Their relationship is very Romeo-and-Juliet-esque. He risks his life every day to see her; if he was caught he'd be killed. The only other person who knows about their relationship is Hana, Lena's best friend. She is not looking forward to the cure. People in this society would call her a rebellious teen, however in reality (the reader's world) she would be seen as a normal 17 yr old. She supports their relationship and helps Lena sneak out after curfew to see him.
Lauren Oliver wrote a story that makes you think and reflect on the importance of love and how we, as human beings, sometimes take for granted that we can love. She also explores the lengths people would go through to keep love and those they love. Delirium invoked so many emotions in me. Alex and Lena's love was beautiful. It was slow and shown through actions. The words "I love you" are rarely said. But the intention, the love, is there. You see it in the sacrifices and risks made. Everything about Delirium was amazing. Instead of hating Lena for believing in propaganda the government puts out to brainwash, Lauren Oliver shows us through her POV so that the reader understands. Delirium wasn't exactly action packed. There were a few action scenes, but not many and they were spread out. The book is filled with suspense. It looms over the story sending chills through your spine and increasing your heart rate. Lena and Hana could be running and you still feel that weight, that feeling of being watched that fills you with apprehension. I'm so glad I picked up this book. This heartbreaking novel will leave you in tears. I cannot wait until the sequel comes out!
Warning: Cliff-hanger ending.
This book was so beautifully written. The story flows so well, and the characters were as vivid in my mind as if they were standing right in fornt of me. The story line is perfect. It is almost a cross of romeo and juliet and pretties. It is genious and will keep your heart racing until you see the blank space after the last word. It made me laugh and cry among other things. Oliver is a wonderful author and has produced a wonderful book. I absolutely ADORE this book, and have nothing but good things to say about it.
This was a great read, loved the thought of this story.