by Lauren Oliver

Genre: YA Dystopian, YA Romance
Published: Febuary 1st, 2011
by HarperCollins




Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided for her, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of "deliria" (the deadly disease we know as love).

But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure.


Like most dystopian books in the young adult genre being published recently, this is more accurately described as a dystopian romance, which shouldn’t be surprising to those who are avid readers of the genre, but is aggravating nonetheless. No matter how many dystopians turned romance you end up reading, the infuriation at being slightly cheated never changes.

It’s so strange how life works: You want something and you wait and wait and feel like it’s taking forever to come. Then it happens and it’s over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed.

Delirium takes place in a future United States, where love has been named “a disease.” At the age of 18, each citizen is administered a “Cure” for the disease.

17-year-old Lana is just three months from receiving the cure; and the exuberance at being cured of such a horrible disease consumes her and her classmates. Until she falls in love with a young boy named Alex, and she finds out that the society she lives in is consumed in a web of intricate lies and deceptions.

The world Oliver created was certainly intriguing, but the lack of backstory and world-building was a bit of an annoyance. When writing a dystopia, it’s a necessity for authors to explain how the over-repressive goverment was formed. Was it after a war / rebellion, like in The Hunger Games? Or after the deadly effects of global warming like in Ship Breaker? Whatever provoked the goverment to “ban love” was not a detail Lauren Oliver explained; making the whole set up a little skeptical.

As a protagonist, I didn’t feel that Lana was a character that was completely memorable when set in the pool of thousands of other characters from other dystopian novels. She even describes herself as being a bit plain and forgettable; with straight brown hair and chestnut brown eyes. She was decent enough, but not much more than that.

The romance was certainly the book’s weak spot. Of course, in a dystopian society where love is outlawed, of course it’s only natural that the main character ends up falling in love, right?


The romance between Lana and Alex, the love interest, felt incredibly forced to me. It was almost as if Lauren Oliver was forced by her editor to add it to the story. The chemistry between them definitely felt a little artificial and without sparks; and it didn’t help that priority was given to the romance over the plot or characterization.

In the end, this is another dystopian novel that, like many other novels in the genre, can more accurately be described as a dystopian romance. I sincerely hope that this is not a new trend within the genre, as it didn’t work with me whatsoever. The saving grace of the book was Oliver’s exquisite prose, without which I probably would have never been compelled to finish the book. If you enjoyed Ally Condie’s Matched or Kristen Simmons’ Article 5.


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