There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.
Then, at last, they found the cure.
Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway 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 then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable...
As soon as I heard about this book, I was intrigued. Especially since I loved Lauren Oliver's first book, BEFORE I FALL, so much. Anyway, as soon as I received my copy, I couldn't help but pick it up and get stuck into it.
Lena lives in Portland, a place that is bordered by tall electrified fences to protect people from the Wilds--the outside world. It's also a place where love is forbidden. Well, it's considered a disease, the root of all evil. So, when someone turns 18 they all get a procedure done to cure them and ensure that they don't run the risk of getting this horrible disease that'll eventually kill them. Instead, they're evaluated, get on with their studies, marry the person they've been matched with at the end of their education, and enjoy a calm existence of sameness, during the extent of their lives. Never once loving.
She's the same as every other person her age: she's just about ready to graduate, enjoys spending time with her best friend Hana, does everything she's supposed to, never strays from her duties, and can't wait to be cured. However, the day of her evaluation, she finds herself stumbling on her answers, saying all the wrong things even though she's rehearsed them a thousand times with her Aunt Carol. Still more confusing, something happens that disrupts it, and in the process she notices a very handsome boy looking at her. And all of a sudden seems to be everywhere she goes.
His name is Alex, and the more time she spends with him, the more she starts to realise that what she's always been taught, and all the rules and regulations she believed were for the community's own good and safety might actually be a way of controlling them. Of keeping them in line by using fear. Before long, she's horrified to realise that she's done the very thing which caused her mother to kill herself--she's fallen in love.
Delirium is an amazing, thrilling, and beautifully written book set in a very vivid dystopian society. It's an edge-of-the-seat ride. One that tells Lena's story from the heart. In fact, it's so intimate that I felt everything she did, every step of the way. It was exhilarating, scary, horrifying, beautiful, melancholy, exciting, sad... there was a bit of everything, as Lena's perception of the world and those around her is slowly altered by her experiences with Alex. And the heartbreaking love story between her and Alex is deep, and beautiful. Even tragic.
This is a book that will stay with me for a long while to come, and I expect one that I will no doubt pick up and read again one day in the future. Genius, pure genius! It has a special place on my keeper self.
Delirium, February 2011, ISBN 9780340980927, H&S Fiction