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Delirium ~ Lauren Oliver

February 5, 2011

Genre: Dystopian Young Adult
Publisher: HarperCollins
448 pages
ISBN: 9780061726828

From the tradition of The Giver and 1984, Lauren Oliver’s Delirium taps into our desire to rid ourselves of human desire in hopes of a simpler tomorrow. Hauntingly hitting home through snippets of poetry, prose and plays, Oliver’s story tells of a world that ever so conveniently “relieves” its citizens of the burdens of love and other dangerous emotions, upon their arrival at adulthood.

Declaring love as a devouring, deadly, highly contagious disease, the United States government has done its best to help its citizens live unencumbered, healthy lives by removing the perils of passion, the dangers of desire and the liabilities of love through a compulsory, painless and simple procedure, upon each individuals coming of age. The beauty of such a clean, clutterless system is that each person is matched to his or her future spouse, given a job in science, technology, government, etc., and sent on his or her merry, emotionless way to serve, protect and prosper.

Sounds fabulous, right? Lena thought so for most of her life.

Of course, Juliet Capulet thought her life was grand, too.

There was that little distracting detail of a kid named Romeo, though. At least I think that’s how it went…

The most amazing thing about this story compared to other YA and even adult romances, is that there is something so sinister yet so abundantly prevalent in our current culture as mimicked and mocked in Delirium fantasy world, that the romance of the story is only second chair. We live in a time where faster and faster, we run through our lives, loves and relationships, texting, emailing and never stopping to think about the bonds that do or should hold us together. The perfect, presentable partner, the perfect occupation that must be a career, not just a job, and the kids who can photograph well, read aloud, long divide and score goals well before their fourth birthdays. We must have it all or we’re not doing it right.

Among this, who has time to love or feel or cry?

A beautiful romance at the surface but a powerful caution to those of us (and who doesn’t?) who run too fast, jump too high and love far too little, Delirium is not just another futuristic teen romance; it’s a tale as old as time about the perils of outlawing love and denying us what is truly in our hearts.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2011 12:33 pm

    Everyone’s raving over this book, but your review is the first one I’ve read that mentions it’s romantic element. That makes me a little less excited about it.

    • February 6, 2011 12:49 pm

      Well, see, the thing is, I liked it because it was more about identifying how love is discovered when we shut it out. The relationship aspect is seen, yes in minor detail as a romance but it also explores what happens when love is taken out of family and friendships. It’s less about the hand holding and more about the ways in which we do need love, all kinds of love in society. I’d give it a try. :O)

  2. February 6, 2011 1:03 pm

    I’m really hoping my library gets this soon. It’s on order and I’m #1 on the hold list, but it’ll still be a few weeks. I’m so impatient!

  3. February 6, 2011 11:49 pm

    I have been reading great reviews of this book all over the place, and it’s one that I really want to read. I was also talking this book up to my kids over dinner the other night, and they both seemed rather interested in it as well. I am glad to hear that you loved it, and I really loved your review.

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