Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Posted January 31, 2011 by Sara 8 Comments

What starts out feeling like a cross between Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series and Ally Condie’s Matched — by the end of Delirium by Lauren Oliver, the novel has taken on a life all its own. This new book from the author of Before I Fall will find its niche among fans of dystopian fiction — though readers of any genre will find something to enjoy. It combines all the best of dystopian with romance and pulse-pounding action to create a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

In Delirium, Love has been identified as a disease — and at age 18, everyone is given The Cure. And for Lena, that’s all she’s ever wanted — to be Cured, and to avoid the sickness that claimed her mother’s life. But just weeks before her procedure, Lena does the unthinkable … she falls in love. And now she’s got to reconcile what she’s always believed, to what she now feels deep inside. Is Love really a disease? Or has her government been lying to her all this time? And if Love is a disease, does she still want the Cure?

The concept behind Delirium is what makes this such a classic dystopian novel — yet Oliver stands out from a sea of similar stories with her execution. The writing alone makes you aware that you’re reading something special; Oliver has a gift for words and phrasing, and her skills as a writer are in full effect here.

Likewise, Oliver has clearly put a lot of effort into writing the rules of her futuristic society. The evidence is plain to see throughout the novel — from the creepy excerpts from “official texts” at the beginning of each chapter, to the ease with which Oliver writes about her world. There are layers to the society Oliver has created, and while it is a complex world, it is easy to follow as the reader.

It’s also refreshing to see a Young Adult novel that doesn’t rely on a love triangle. Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m a sucker for a good love triangle. But Delirium doesn’t need that drama to add intrigue and tension — Oliver’s story alone creates that tension. And there is a constant thread of tension that pulses throughout the novel — keeping you on the edge of your seat, and both eager and afraid to turn the page. This tension continues to build throughout the whole novel — and by the time you reach the very last page and the dramatic, cliff-hanger conclusion, you’ll be gasping with shock.

Delirium is in stores tomorrow.


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8 responses to “Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

  1. I’m glad to hear you liked it. Is the protagonist likeable, as well? I really didn’t care for “Before I Fall” but I may give Oliver another try based on your review. I love dystopian, so I’m glad it’s totally different from her debut novel.

    • sgundell

      I never read “Before I Fall,” but I liked “Delirium.” Lena isn’t a perfect character, but I thought she was likeable. She has her faults and her insecurities, but you get to see her grow and it was a good journey. She definitely isn’t an awful person, or anything. The scenes with her little cousin are definitely very touching, and she clearly has a lot of emotions about things in her past.

  2. I loved this book…It’s creative and interesting and just enough in reality so that I can imagine it coming true…Very different from Before I Fall, which I also loved. You’d never really know that these books were written by the same author!

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