Sunday, May 8, 2011

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

Delirium is a fantastic, futuristic (though not exactly apocalyptic) novel that is set at a time where the world is changing drastically. The title of the book is derived from the book's main focus, a disease titled amor deliria nervosa which people once thought was love, but now is widely agreed as one of the most dangerous illnesses on the planet. Upon reaching eighteen, every citizen is required to receive the cure, a surgery involving the brain that will eradicate the deliria and will furthermore cause the patient to live a healthy, worry-free life. 

Lena, a teenager verging on her eighteenth birthday, is excited to receive the cure. She is a good girl who has always followed her Aunt Carol's rules and has always taken care of her two younger cousins, Jenny and Gracie. But despite her calm appearance, Lena, also known as Magdelena Haloway, is troubled by dark secrets, the most horrifying one being her mother's suicide. Whispered by the members of her community, in the futuristic world of Portland, Oregon, Lena is also ridiculed upon by her strange past, and always receives a moderate greeting as she is one who isn't thin or fat, pretty or ugly. All this changes, however, when on the day of her evaluation (a test taken to determine future options, such as a person's occupation and his or her spouse,) Lena catches a glimpse of a handsome boy with amber hair and eyes. From this day on, everything Lena knows about her society changes. 

In deft but lyrical wording, Lauren Oliver succesfully describes Lena's hardships in this world not unlike Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games series, while still giving us a relationship that is real and satisfying. Both characters were well developed, and I especially enjoyed the fact that Lena wasn't one of those 'perfect' main characters, and instead was one who was shy, protective, and meek all at once, but still always likeable. The thing that I liked best about Delirium was the fascinating setting that her characters were set in. The futuristic society is fully described and is further enriched by the excerpts from fictional books she gives at the beginnings of each chapter. Society itself seemed similar to Jonah's in the Newberry Honor book The Giver, where the people (and the adults inDelirium's case) were strangely detached and experienced no feeling, good or bad. 

This was an amazing novel, one of the best I've read so far in the 2011 year. The subtle cliffhanger left me waiting for more, while satisfying me for a few months to come. The serious, almost chilling mood let me experience the world full on. Told simply, I can't wait until the sequel of Delirium is out!


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