Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review | Delirium by Lauren Oliver

“You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them.
You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist...
I love you.  Remember.  They cannot take it.”

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver 

Published by Harper Collins
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopia
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Pages: 441
Other Books By Lauren Oliver: Before I Fall, Pandemonium (Delirium #2)

My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Synopsis:  Lauren Oliver's powerful New York Times bestselling novel Delirium—the first in a dystopian trilogy—presents a world as terrifying as George Orwell's 1984 and a romance as true as Romeo & Juliet.

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 mistakes.

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?

Teisha's Review

I could never imagine a world without love.  But, that is exactly what Lauren Oliver has done with Delirium, and she's done it beautifully.

I've been wanting to read this book for a while, but I was a little reluctant because I've become quite burnt out with dystopian series--The Hunger Games, Divergent, Legend.  But, I decided that I would try one more, and I'm glad that I did.

Amid a flood of dystopian novels, Delirium definitely stays afloat.

Here are the five reasons why I gave Delirium 4.5 out of 5 stars:

★ Realistic Protagonist

I really loved Lena's character.  She seemed more real to me than any of the other female heroines that exist in dystopian stories today.

One characteristic that makes Lena unique is that she actually likes the world she lives in.  She's perfectly okay with the idea of never falling in love, because that is what she knows.  She's never experienced anything different.  Katniss didn't look forward to The Hunger Games.  Tris didn't look forward to the Choosing Ceremony.  But, Lena looks forward to receiving "the cure".

As you can guess from the synopsis of this story, Lena does eventually end up falling in love, but she does so quite unwillingly.  This is where that age old phrase "you can't help what your heart wants" comes into play.  At the start of the story, we see that Lena is not someone who is going to throw her morals and everything she believes in out the window for a hot guy.  I was really pleased to find that this book's romance aspect was far from typical.  One of my biggest book pet peeves are the love stories where the girl or guy is easily wooed by another girl or guy just because they're good looking.

Lena is forced to make tough decisions about whether she will act on her newfound love and what she is going to do about her future.  Will she stick to the comfort and routine of the world she knows or will she risk everything and allow Alex to show her more?  

★ Lena's Mother

I found the relationship Lena had with her mother to be one of the most intriguing aspects of this story.  Lena's mother is her ghost, the thing that keeps her from going after what she wants and needs.

I don't think it's spoilery to tell you that Lena's mother was sick with deliria nervosa and killed herself when Lena was only a child.  You learn that in the first few pages of the story.

To readers, when Lena describes her mother, she seems completely normal.  But, to Lena, her mother was a freak.

There is a beautifully written part of the book where Lena talks about the relationship she had with her mother.  They used to sing and dance together, and her mother would kiss her scrapes and bruises when she fell--all things that people who were "cured" of the disease of love would never do.  When Lena was young, she enjoyed her mother's comfort and the fun they had dancing in their living room.  But, now she realizes that those activities weren't normal.

Something about reading how Lena thought her mother was sick and weird really touched my heart.  It made me sad for the children who have to grow up in Lena's world, never knowing a mother's love.  And, it made me appreciative of my mother and the relationship we share.

★ Oliver's Writing

This is the first novel of Lauren Oliver's that I have ever read, and I absolutely love her writing.  Her words create such vivid images in your mind.  And, they flow beautifully and lyrically, like poetry.

I really enjoyed the way Oliver described love, and how she wrote Lena as becoming alive when she experienced love.  Here are some of my favorite quotations:

"Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor.  It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two.  Before and after.  The rest of the world falls away on either side.  Before and after--and during, a moment no bigger or longer than an edge."

"Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.  But that isn't it, exactly.  The condemner and the condemned.  The executioner; the blade; the last minute reprieve; the gasping breath and the rolling sky above you and the thank you, thank, thank you, God.  Love: It will kill you and save you, both."
If any of that seems complicated, believe me when I say that Oliver's writing is both beautiful and understandable.  Once you start reading and get a sense of her voice, you'll know exactly what her words mean.

★ Cliffhanger Ending

When the ending of the first novel in a trilogy makes me me cry, I know that that author is doing something right.  Out of all the series and trilogies I've read--The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, Harry Potter--none of them have ever made me cry over the first installment.

The ending of Delirium was stunning--I was literally stunned.  The ending gave me anxiety.  There was a point where my heart was pounding and I had to sit the book aside for a few minutes.  And, then, I was yelling at the book the way you yell at your television.  I had to cover the pages with my hands so that my eyes wouldn't flutter forward and spoil the ending.

I love cliffhangers, and Delirium provided me with one.  It left me with questions, and it prompted me to immediately go to Amazon and buy Pandemonium and Requiem.

And, the last sentence, the last few paragraphs--they're all so beautiful.  This book's ending just gave me all the feels.  I can't even accurately express how it tore my heart to pieces.

You have to read it and experience all of the emotion for yourself.

☆ Slow Start

I'm taking away half a star for this book because I found it difficult to get into.  The beginning was quite slow and lackluster, as Oliver did a lot of world building in that section.   

I tend to like books where I am hooked from the very beginning and I didn't feel that with this one.  There were times when I didn't want to keep reading because I was so bored.  But, all the great reviews that I'd read for the book kept me going.  Needless to say, I am very glad that I finished Delirium!  Eventually the pace picks up, and the story gets better.  But, for me that wasn't until sometime after the halfway point of the book.  


I am currently reading FaNGIRL by Rainbow Rowell, but you can believe that as soon as I finish it, I am going to pounce on Pandemonium.  I have to know what happens next.  This series started out slow, but now things are really moving, and I'm ready to jump back into it.

I highly recommend this book!  I know that many people out there are getting tired of dystopias, and I totally understand how you feel.  But, before you jump off the dystopia wagon, I think you should read just one more.  Read Delirium, because it's beautiful and it speaks to the most human aspect of all of us: our hearts.

Tell Me Your Thoughts

--Have you read Delirium?  If so, what did you think?  If not, do you plan to?
--If you've read the entire series, tell me, does it keep getting better?

Talk to you soon!


  1. Great review! I loved this book, and I definitely agree with you about Lauren Oliver's writing. It's so beautiful and poetic but still understandable

    1. Yes, I agree! I can't wait to finish this series and get into some of Oliver's other works.

  2. Awesome review. I haven't read the book yet, but after reading your review I will put it at the top of my list.:)

    1. So glad you're adding Delirium to your list! Be sure to let me know what you thought about it:)