“In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistake.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the “Wilds” who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?“
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Delirium by Lauren Oliver is the first book in the Delirium trilogy, in which love is a disease, now called Amor Deleria Nervosa, and everyone must be vaccinated with the cure. This dystopian United States not only vaccinates against love, but also rations food, segregates female children from male children in school, enforces a strict curfew and restricts traveling between cities. An in-depth evaluation decides each citizen’s future career and spouse.
Lena, the main character, is living with her aunt, uncle and cousin, as her father died when she was a baby and her mother committed suicide when she was only a child. She is anxiously awaiting being able to undergo the procedure to vaccinate against Amor Deleria Nervosa, get her evaluation and finally begin her life. During Lena’s evaluation chaos ensues and her evaluation is interrupted. Things only get weirder when she discovers her best friend, Hanna, is changing. She’s listening to banned music and sneaking out past curfew to participate in illegal parties. Lena is against these behaviors and terrified of the punishments, which can be as severe as death. Hanna convinces Lena to join her at a party, where she stumbles across someone who has already altered the path of her life and will only continue to do so. Lena slowly begins to uncover a whole world she has been missing out on, as well as secrets she never dreamed of.
Lauren Oliver has created a world which somehow manages to be both boring and terrifying. A world without love would lack so much more than just romance and Lauren Oliver does a wonderful job of layering the pitfalls and painting an image of this dystopian society. I was immediately gripped by Lena’s story and anxious to find out what would happen next. As Lena gets closer to truths and further from the life she’s always known, I couldn’t help but hold my breath in fear, gasp in shock or yell in outrage. I was rooting for Lena and terrified for her at the same time. I wanted to rip down the walls of the city, yet hide her in a safe place.
This book will get you thinking about the damage that can be inflicted by a naïve society blindly following the orders of a select few, the impact of love or the lack of it and so much more. This book has something for any fans of dystopian, young adult or romance, along with some science fiction thrown in.