Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium (Delirium #1) 
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Dystopia, sci-fi, romance, young adult
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (an imprint of Hachette), HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 393
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
What if love were a disease?

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.

My Review:

The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well. – Proverb 42, The book of Shhh.

I’ve been nervous to read this book. There’s so much hype around it and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. It has a rating of 4.07 after over fifty thousand ratings on goodreads. So after I bought a copy, I put it on the shelf along and left it alone.

Until last week. And I’m so glad that I finally read it. And I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good love story as well as anyone who likes a good dystopian novel.

After seeing her mother and her older sister be victims to amor deliria nervosa, Lena has been counting down the days till her eighteenth birthday. The day when she  can receive the cure and never have to worry about being infected with the disease of love. With one summer left between her and the cure, Lena and her best friend Hana sit their examinations to determine who they will be matched with to marry and procreate with after being cured. There’s a disturbance during the testing and Lena is introduced to a world where maybe love isn’t the disease she’s always thought it to be. Maybe love is what’s worth living for.

I think I’m a bit of a champion for love. The idea of a world without love horrifies me. And whilst I can’t dispute the facts laid out in The Book of Shhh,  I never realized how many facets of our lives are influenced by the strong emotion. There’s love of our families, our children, our partners, our friends and every part of our worlds. Music, art and even nature. It’s all comes back to love.

Like for most books that introduce a new series and in that a new world, there’s a bit of world building going on at the start. But I found all of it fascinating. I loved the main characters – Lena, Hana and Alex. They’re all so different and yet they contrast each other brilliantly. There were some times when I didn’t understand Lena’s actions. I understood where her thoughts were going but then she’d just do something slightly out of left field and I’d just be sitting there with a quizzical look on my face wondering why Lena? Why?!

I don’t want to go into too many details plot wise – I didn’t know anything that was going to happen and the surprise is some of what made it so exciting and compelling.

The relationship between Alex and Lena was beautifully played out. I loved how it developed as the story went on. There are some scenes between them that will go down as some of the most romantic that I’ve ever read.

I already have a copy of the second book in the series, Pandemonium. I don’t think it’ll take me any time at all to get around to reading it.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


  1. Yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. It really is one of my favorites and I shamelessly recommend it constantly. I still think Delirium is a little better than Pandemonium just because Pandemonium is so different, but it’s still very enjoyable. Great review 🙂

  2. I too feel just a little bad for being a less than avid fan of Lauren Oliver. I think her writing is absolutely beautiful, but I’ve thought the plot could be stronger in both Delirium and Before I Fall.

    Delirium seemed a little weak as a dystopian because I don’t understand why love was chose ans the emotion to eliminate. I did like the tie-in of how eliminating love gets rid of side emotions like anxiety or jealousy, but wouldn’t it make more sense for scientists to have eliminated fear or sadness instead? I do admit, however, that there is some brilliance in how the first steps of the disease of love are true, which would give the people a reason to believe the final step–death–is true as well.

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