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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

DeliriumDelirium by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis:"Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love."

My Review:

delirium |diˈli(ə)rēəm|
an acutely disturbed state of mind that occurs in fever, intoxication, and other disorders and is characterized by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence of thought and speech.
  • wild excitement or ecstasy.

Here’s my observation of the typical Young Adult genre Cliché Formula:
  • Distant from parents (either the parents are dead, works a lot/never there, or just away in the book)
  • High school aged youth (for current purposes, let’s say a girl)
  • Stuck in a strict society
  • Wavers about going against the grain
  • Dash of betrayal/hate from someone trusted
  • A Pile of wavering emotion (usually over someone of the opposite gender; for current purposes, let’s say a guy)
    • Usually over a slightly older person
  • Guy likes the girl he doesn’t know for no particular reason
  • Girl has a “why me?” moment, in wanting to know why the guy could ever like them
  • Plot takes on dramatic sequences to push and pull these characters through the risks of going against the grain of the society.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way:

This book is beautiful as it mixes love and tragedy, pain and pleasure, misery and delirium. How can one conform to lack of choice, and more so, lack of freedom? 

“You have to understand. I am no one special. I am just a single girl. I am five feet two inches tall and I am in-between in every way.
But I have a secret. You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them.” (392)

Lena, an ordinary girl who, more than anybody, wants to fit in with society to feel normal, comes into contact with Alex, a boy who can help her be extraordinary.

“His hair is golden brown, like leaves in autumn just as they’re turning, and he has bright amber eyes.” (34)

This emotion she feels, is it worth the fight? Love is not an easy concept. Love is forbidden. Love is a disease.
Lauren Oliver takes on a seemingly simple concept, Love, and develops it into a denouement of a novel as Love is both ridiculed and explained. I quite love Oliver’s writing style because it is simplistic, yet enlightening and poetic, yet humoring. It is relatable as she brings in Lena as a protagonist born from defiance, but also brought up on docility. 

“Lena really has nothing, and so she of course has less to lose.” -Lauren Oliver

She is predisposed from the actions of her mother and her sister, leaving her alone in a world of brainwashed conformity. This sets up the genetic impulse for Lena’s exploits as she grows to think and feel for herself. 

First Line: “It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.” (1)

Last Line: “They cannot take it.” (393)

“‘You know you can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes, right?’” (21)

“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.” (44)

“They’ve lied about everything--about the fence, and the existence of the Invalids, about a million other things besides. They told us the raids were carried out for our own protection. They told us the regulators were only interested in keeping the peace. 
They told us that love was a disease. They told us it would kill us in the end.
For the very first time I realize that this, too, might be a lie.” (250)

“‘I love it,’ I say again, testing it. An easy word to say, once you say it. Short. To the point. Rolls off the tongue. It’s amazing I’ve never said it before.” (266)

View all my reviews

Kindle EditionSpecial Edition401 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2011)

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