Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver


I found Delirium several months ago while skimming through the bookshelves at Barnes & Noble. The idea fascinated me instantly. Here is what the back of the book says:

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

The book starts out with Lena, the main character, anticipating the procedure. The procedure that will cure her of amor deliria nervosa, also known as “love.” Love is looked down upon in the society Lena was raised in. It’s a disease, a sickness, a very bad thing to feel. And Lena, being the good child she is, can’t wait until she is a cured one. Then she will be happy.

Or so she thought.

A few months before her scheduled procedure, Lena’s best friend Hana starts to act weird. Lena fears for Hana’s safety, thinking maybe she’s got amor deliria nervosa. In an attempt to help Hana, Lena ends up finding herself in the middle of an illegal party. Music and mingling of boys and girls and dancing (big no-no’s). At this very much illegal party, Lena runs into a cured one, a man named Alex. But wait. He’s cured. He shouldn’t be at the party. Is he a Sympathizer? Did the cure not work on him and he hasn’t told anyone?

Alex takes an interest in Lena, and at first Lena pushes him away, afraid she’s going to get sick with the disease. And then, she agrees, little by little, to meet with him here and there. Weeks before her procedure, Lena realizes she does have the disease. She knows one of the symptoms is not caring about having it, is wanting love more than wanting to live, but she doesn’t say anything to anyone. She hides her symptoms very well.

But then, Lena is caught with Alex. Alex is able to get away, and the ones who caught them didn’t get a good look at him to describe him. But they knew he had to be a boy. And they knew that both of them had the disease. What will happen to Lena now? Will Alex risk everything to save her? How will they ever get out of this bind?

The Plot:
The book was evenly-paced and flowed well. There were never really any dull moments, and there was always a question nagging at the back of my mind that needed to be answered. Even when finishing the book, I still had a bunch of questions. Though, I have to admit, I’m not too fond of endings like this one. It wasn’t a bad ending, don’t get me wrong! It was just not what I was expecting.

The Characters:
Lena starts out as a good little girl. Never breaks the law. Always says yes ma’am. Never glares. It was almost annoying. I was so glad when she was infected by love and became a little stronger, grew a backbone, so to speak, and no longer cared what happened to her. As long as she had love, she didn’t care if she died or went to prison.

Alex was a charming character, and I kind of fell in love with him. Though his character wasn’t as well-rounded as some others, which was a bit disappointing because he was driving factor in the story, the reason Lena changed her mind about the procedure.

Hana, on the other hand, was probably the character that stood out the most in the book. She was headstrong, independent, caring yet strict, beautiful yet not boastful. I loved the fact that she helped Lena keep Alex a secret, and she proved over and over again that she was a true friend, one Lena could never replace.

All in all, I give Delirium by Lauren Oliver a solid five stars. I don’t like romance novels, but I have to say, this was a captivating and beautiful love story.

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