Delirium by Lauren Oliver

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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Despite some minor issues with the world-building, Lauren Oliver’s second novel is a gripping dystopian romance.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: February 2011
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0340980910

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Imagine a world without love... Where romance was dead, parents felt no affection for their children, and Romeo and Juliet was studied as a cautionary tale. Lena's world has nearly reached that stage. The cure has been found for amor deliria nervosa, and is given to all children when they reach the age of 18. After her mother's suicide for love Lena is desperate to reach that age and receive the cure. She knows things will change - she's seen the effect it has on those who go through it and the way it makes them all calmer - but she's ready to welcome it. And then she meets a boy, and her views on love are turned completely upside down. But with the date of the cure so close, can she possibly do anything about her new feelings?

There's no question at all that Delirium is beautifully written and that Lena is a fantastic main character who develops really well as she falls in love for the first time and finds her world changed completely. I also absolutely adored the extracts from the anti-love propaganda which started each chapter and found the novel a highly entertaining read. That said, my main problem with the book is that the society itself seems so ridiculously unlikely. Why ban love? There are vague attempts to justify this with comments about the damage it did to people and the problems it caused, but there never seems to be a strong reason for why the majority of society would be happy to go along with this. Having said that, Oliver's writing is so engaging that I didn't really take much notice of how implausible it was until I got to the end and thought about it a bit - and that ending completely blew me away, a really stunning finale.

Overall this is perhaps just below the very cream of the crop but is a strong recommendation and very unlikely to disappoint any fans of dystopian fiction or romance against the odds. I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Further reading suggestion: Similarly, fantastic dystopian themes can be found in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden. We also liked Broken Things by Lauren Oliver. You might like to have a look at Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley, although it is a much lighter read.

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