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Delirium by Lauren Oliver book review

Updated on September 5, 2012

Imagine a world without love…

That’s the premise of this beautiful novel by Lauren Oliver, and in her second book entitled Delirium she goes a step further and asks you to imagine not only a world without love, but imagine if you were taught that love was wrong; where showing any types of affection could possibly get you tortured or killed. Imagine a world where love was illegal.

People protecting themselves from being hurt emotionally is one thing, but in Delirium, set in a not so distant future in North America, it’s not just individuals who are protecting their hearts, but the government raises the stakes on societal restrictions and labels love a disease. Certain kinds of literature, music, and movies are banned that encourage deliria nervosa, or love, and almost actions are strictly monitored. No one gets a moment of peace. Everyone is constantly watching over their shoulder for any and everything.

But it’s not just that love is forbidden in this world, socioeconomic conditions are different as well. It’s not uncommon today for nearly every household to have central air conditioning, computers, the internet, and for nearly every single person to have a cell phone, but for these characters those amenities are relegated to the rich and wealthy, the privileged, and the upper crust of society.

One of my favorite lines mentioned more than once in the book is: “Love; it kills you when you have it, and it kills you when you don’t.”

The main character, Lena, is an every girl type that most of us can relate to. She states at the beginning of the novel that she is ordinary, no one special. But that simple statement begs another question: What is ordinary? Sometimes it’s the most ordinary people who accomplish some of the most extraordinary things. It’s those “ordinary” people that breeze through your life and leave an impression that you will never forget even in your wildest dreams. It’s those people that can leave a mark on your heart that last forever.

I read this book in a day and a half. What can I say about this book…beautiful…moving…disturbing…downright frightening…and an extraordinary literary ride.

This is why I love exploring the genre of young adult fiction right now and I see why it’s so popular among everyone. This genre literally defies age even though it’s marketed towards a specific age group. These books take you places people haven’t gone in a long time as far as fiction is concerned, and I love it.

For any adults that choose to pick this up, remember what genre you’re reading. Don’t expect a lot of heavy/explicit “petting” going on because you won’t find it here. What will you find? A terrifying world where no one is really truly safe, a romance that is anything but, and a female character that takes you on a journey that you’ll never forget and you’ll definitely want to see till the end.


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