Published in 2011. 441 pages.
I love young adult dystopian fiction, and this one - by the author of another book I loved, Before I Fall - is terrific!
Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love. [Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data]
Delirium is definitely not your "same old" - and, like all good science fiction, it provides some thoughtful commentary on current society and the human condition. Consider, for example, the implications of these passages:
A little shock pulses through me. In all the seventeen years and eleven months of my life I have never, not once, thought of it that way. I've been so used to thinking of what the borders are keeping out that I haven't considered that they're also penning us in. [pages 228-229]
The branches above us form a canopy that reminds me of the vaulted ceiling of St. Paul's Cathedral, where I used to sit in Sunday school to hear lectures about atoms and probabilities and God's order. [page 284]
They say the cure is about happiness, but I understand now that is isn't, and it never was. It's about fear: fear of pain, fear of hurt, fear, fear, fear - a blind animal existence, bumping between walls, shuffling between ever-narrowing hallways, terrified and dull and stupid. ... 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. [page 383]
I also found Oliver's writing to be beautiful as well as entertaining. Here are two passages I particularly liked:
Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you - sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever. [page 153]
I feel like I'm playing some giant video game, or trying to solve a really complicated math equation. One girl is trying to avoid forty raiding parties of between fifteen to twenty people each, spread out across a radius of seven miles. If she has to make it 2.7 miles through the center, what is the probability she will wake up tomorrow morning in a jail cell? Please feel free to round pi to 3.14. [page 210]
Tricia of Library Queue called Delirium "fast-paced, thought-provoking, [with] a great romantic angle." "Alex looks just like Zac Efron to me!" she said. (Tricia's full review is here.)
Joy of Thoughts of Joy found the dialogue to be "very YA-like," which she didn't like. She also didn't like the statements or quotes at the beginning of each chapter - which is actually something I really liked, giving me insight into the world in which Lena lives. Joy concluded, "While I didn't find it to be stellar in writing or plot, I did enjoy reading it, and that's a good thing." (Her full review is here.)
Penelope of The Reading Fever gushed about Delirium - despite having three gripes - in her detailed review. In conclusion, she said, "Read this if ... you are a romantic at heart, you don't believe love is a disease, and you want to really feel what you read." (Her full review is here.)
A discussion guide can be downloaded here. The sequel Pandemonium has an expected publication date of March 2012. Delirium has been optioned for a film by Fox 2000.
I highly recommend this one! (By the way, up next in the YA dystopian genre for me is Elana Johnson's Possession.)