Maree's Reviews > Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

really liked it
Read from November 22 to 23, 2011

This book was seriously a cross between Matched and Uglies. You have the restrictive government of Matched, where they select even the person you will marry for you, and the outdoor life and rebellion of Uglies mashed together. But for me at least, this book succeeded where Matched, and partially Uglies, failed.

I don't want to get too much into the other series for those who haven't read them, but I didn't much like Matched because it seemed like nothing was happening throughout and I really did like the Uglies series aside from how young it felt (and the addictive language, of course. Bubbly!). Both were set in dystopian worlds where the heroines would be coming of age shortly, just like in Delirium. But where Matched was all poetry as resistance and Uglies was all sneaking out and boarding at night, Delirium is more of the perfect balance between them. There is action and there is poetry, and they merge together not flawlessly, but smoothly.

Delirium is love, which cases all types of symptoms like weak knees, irrational emotions and unpredictable natures. Luckily, in Lena's world, scientists have learned how to cure this disease, and each citizen is cured when their brain has matured, at 18. Lena can't wait to be cured and no longer have to fear the disease until a few months before her 18th birthday when yes, she falls in love.

A common complaint of mine with YA romance is the lack of foundation for relationships. It usually goes as follows: boy sees girl across room, their eyes meet, they're in love. Okay, so it might be a little more than that. Boy might hate girl for no reason at first, or save her from a pack of wolves as a wolf, or the girl might like the boy because he looks like his grandfather who she fell in love with 50 years previously. But this instantaneous romances happen a lot. In Delirium, I felt that there was at least a basis for their relationship before they fell head over heels. Oliver even expands on it later, telling of past sightings we don't see in the story. So I felt it was real enough, and I appreciated Oliver took the time to make it a little more realistic than most.

The writing is lovely, and the world expands for the reader as Lena's view of it does the same. The little notes at the beginnings of each chapter really gave a great flavor for the society that would be otherwise difficult to convey. And I loved the idea of how they twisted Romeo and Juliet into a cautionary tale instead of a love story. Beautiful.
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