Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Genre: YA Dystopia
Author's Website: http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/
Author's Blog: http://laurenoliverbooks.blogspot.com/
Lena lives in a world where a cure for love has been found. After their eighteenth birthday, people have a procedure done which eliminates love, thus eliminating all the terrible side effects of love - faintness, difficulty focusing, even suicide. The government matches boys and girls with each other after they graduate from separate schools, and life is so much easier and happier. Lena is looking forward to her procedure, to the time when she can escape the disease that led to her own mother's death. But just months before her procedure, starting at her evaluations, things start to change. And she meets a boy - and falls in love. Lena starts finding out that almost nothing is actually the way she's been led to believe it is, and she finds out the true meaning of love and the absence of love.
The concept of this book is so great - the idea that people would call love a disease, and all the effects of removing love. I like how Lauren Oliver examines all sides of the idea, not just romantic love but also parent-child love. She portrays the effects of a loveless world so beautifully - well, heart-breakingly, actually. Although some of the things that Lena notices sound like comments only a person who has lived in our world would be able to say, things like commenting on the absence of love which she never knew, for the most part the things that Lena and her friends think really show what living in a world without love, a world of lies, would feel like.
Lena is an interesting character. It's funny how at the beginning of the book I almost couldn't stand her, but I felt like I had to know what would happen to her. Her friend Hanna was more compelling at the beginning, since she had more backbone and sounded more like a person, less like a robot as Lena sounded like. But as I got deeper into the story, it became quite clear that neither one of them is as simple as they sound at first. They're both complex in their situations, thoughts, actions, and opinions. I love how they're fully developed people, and their actions are hardly ever predictable, because each time they are responding to different parts of themselves - and isn't that actually what happens in real life?
The ending - well, the ending. I can't say I love the way the book ends, but oh, I love the way the book ends. It's heart-wrenching, the kind of conclusion that has me sitting and staring at the last page for minutes after I finish, trying to absorb what just happened. But it fits perfectly, the way Lauren writes it, going back to something that had been said earlier and that basically sums up the whole point of the book. It's not a happy-ever-after end, but I felt wholly satisfied with the way things were left.
I was a little surprised to find out that there will be a sequel to Delirium. I felt like this was the end of the story, like everything there was to be told was told. I'm not sure how I feel about a sequel. Maybe once I know more about what aspect the second book will focus on, I can decide if I'm going to read it or not. Lauren Oliver's style of writing is definitely worth reading more of, though!
Thanks to HarperTeen and NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review!