Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

11614718Imagine that… Another book commandeered from my sister-in-law that happens to be a dystopian YA trilogy! After tearing through Mel’s old book collection, I figured it was about time for me to actually read a portion of the books I stole from her and Delirium looked like a good place to start.

Background?

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.

My Thoughts?

Well, this book was pretty good for what it was.

The more I read into YA speculative fiction, the more I discover that it’s typically the same plot just with a different twist to the world. So I wasn’t surprised to find the same standard dystopian plot-line: girl falls in love with boy, crazy government rules attempt to keep them apart, boy and girl decide to do what they want anyway. What I did love about this book though was the premise.

Most of us know what it’s like to fall in love- fluttering stomach, racing heart, irrational thoughts, roller coaster emotions…  Now imagine a world where love is a curse word, a disease of the weak, stricken from society, and you are a teenager just beginning to get to know all those crazy feelings. That’s the world we’re thrown into in Oliver’s novel.

A warning for anyone attempting to read this book: it starts slow.

Very slow.

The first third of the book consists of character introductions and world building. Don’t get me wrong, the society living inside this story is an intriguing one, a strange combination of strict pseudo-religious government control mixed with general community apathy, but this introductory section definitely could have been shrunk down a bit. Parts of the premise were also a bit inconsistent, including strange family reactions to mentions of love and drastically differing societal reactions to “outbreaks” of love (ranging from simply taking teens in early for treatment all the way up to destroying the lives and careers of all family members of those “infected”). It was a bit hard to follow at times.

The characters had varied personalities, ranging from the adventurous Hanna and Alex, to Lena’s stoic and disconnected aunt and sister (who have already been “cured” of love). Lena rests somewhere in the middle- afraid of love because it caused her mother to be torn from her life and also curious about the wonderful new feelings she’s beginning to discover within herself. Oliver does a good job portraying YA romance in a way that’s endearing, yet not so sickly sweet that you feel like your brain is rotting out.

Overall I enjoyed this story and Oliver’s writing style. I give Delirium 4 out of 5 stars! If you’re looking for a  YA dystopian book and don’t mind some dense reading, give this one a try 🙂

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