Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

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 governments 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.


“I said that without love, there could also be no hate: without hate, no violence. Hate isn’t the most dangerous thing, he’d said. Indifference is.”

I know that when I’ve read a good book, I refused to read a new one. There’s something that makes me want to pause, look back and rewind all those scenes I’ve just read with such clarity. With Delirium, I did not read anything over the weekend! And that says a lot.

Love is a disease. Singing, dancing is not allowed. Any form of emotional expression is restricted. No hugging or kissing even with friends! This could be real, I thought. No war, no pain, no nothing. There’s also no happiness. Or love. Harsh world, right? and it’s about to get harsher.

The premise is simple, get cured or you will be forced to be cured. If you are too much trouble, you are simply eliminated. The story is fast paced, the author introduces you into this world without sounding preachy. I love action packed novels, but in this book, the lack of it (or maybe there’s one or two action scenes), made it more pliable. Believable. Why? Because the terror of getting caught past curfew (9pm!), the helplessness of forgetting everyone you cared about after the cure, the reality that there’s no other option but to live the life given by the government is enough. I can feel them while reading, creeping between the lines and crippling me. Being scared all the time while doing the most mundane things (hanging out on a beach with a boy, for one), is there. Almost all the time I am reading this book, I can feel the tension. I’m quite terrified of the consequences the characters could face when caught. Whenever Lena or Hana or Alex sneaked out (for a party, or just hang out), I fought myself not to scream “c’mon, man, you’re gonna get caught past your curfew! Chop. Chop. Time to go home!”

I like Lena. The obedience to do what is right by the government clashes wildly with her natural need to rebel. Defiance is her key to unlocking her freedom. And she did, at the end of the book, Lena stood her ground. No more lies, she said. It’s time to live my life. My happy life. By my rules.

Alex is likeable. Although the author could’ve picked up a more subtle or unusual name for a hero in a dystopian world. It seems so common. Anyway, he is more human than most heroes I’ve encountered in YA. Confused and not confident at times. He is actually pretty normal, I guess. I don’t love Alex, but I don’t hate him either. and it is just right, that he admitted to liking Lena instead of loving her suddenly. they relationship started with mistrust and suspicion. and then their friendship grows, and that gradually blossoms into love. super likey!

am not that gaga over Lena’s and Alex’s romance. it makes me want to fall in love, but not with alex specifically 🙂 Maybe it is just slow to build in my taste. Still, i’m hooked – it is heartbreaking. I wanted them to be together, against all odds!

The author writes in a way that she paints Lena’s world in such vivid pictures I can understand how’s it like to live there. She reminds me of C.Clare’s writing of the mortal instruments. I can relate to Lena. I already stepped in her world. The Regulators. The Wilds. The Crypts. And man, oh man, I don’t want to get stuck there!

the ending was like a BEP song: boom boom pow! the author stepped it up BIG time. although i was left hanging, i didn’t mind since i know this is a part of a trilogy. reading towards the end of the book is simply exhilirating.

The verdict: I can’t wait for book 2. I hope I won’t stay in a state of delirium waiting for it. Haha.

“I know that life isn’t life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point—the only point—is to find the things that matter, and hold on to them, and fight for them, and refuse to let them go.”


“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

  1. Pingback: ArmchairBEA: My Best 2011 Reads so far « books. food. travel.

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Delirium #2: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver « reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

  3. Pingback: COVERed: Requiem, Fragments, Boundless « reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

  4. Pingback: Book Review: Delirium #3: Requiem by Lauren Oliver | reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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