Delirium by Lauren Oliver [twitter | website]
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format read: Paperback (special edition with lots of extras)
Why I bought it: I wanted to give the series another try.
Summary: Love (or the deliria) has been deemed a disease. It is mandatory that everyone must be cured of the deliria once they turn 18. Lena is a few months away from her 18th birthday when she begins to question being cured, meets Alex, and discovers that the society doesn’t function as perfectly as she once believed.
I mentioned in this In My Mailbox vlog that I read Delirium last year and didn’t love it. Why? you ask.
I whittled it down to a few reasons, and mostly I believe that it was terrible timing. I read Delirium immediately after finishing Divergent by Veronica Roth, which happens to be one of my very favorite books. I went into Oliver’s world expecting the fast-paced, kick ass heroin I loved from Divergent. The two worlds, while both dystopias, are so incredibly different, as are both authors’ writing styles. This year when I went to ALA, I met several friends who convinced me to give Delirium another try. So I did.
And I abso-freaking-lutely loved it.
I hereby admit that I was 100% in the wrong to have read two dystopias back to back. I confess that I am a complete Lauren Oliver fangirl now. I wish I could take back the months that I didn’t recommend Delirium to my friends because all I want to do now is sing its praises from the rooftop.
Because this is a release from last year, I am just going to cover a few of my favorite aspects of Delirium:
- Oliver spends a lot of time allowing us to see Lena in her natural environment before shocking us with Lena’s doubts about the cure. This gives us a chance to really see how much Lena believes in everything, how anxious she is to receive the cure (and why that is), and how automatron-like she is because she doesn’t really think for herself. Every single decision she makes is based on how she can be a good citizen and not break any rules. Reading this the second time, I saw how well Oliver used this period of change to develop the details of the world; I even felt convinced, at times, that the cure was worthwhile.
- The process of Lena unraveling is a slow progression. She doesn’t meet Alex and then woah! everything falls to pieces. Oliver was very intentional when it comes to Alex. Just as Lena slowly loosens her reins, we slowly fall in love with him, too. He has secrets and is very mysterious; Lena eventually has to learn all of those things and they aren’t easy for her to digest. I love, love, love that Lena and Alex don’t have an insta-love relationship. They definitely defy the odds, though, because Lena is all about the cure.
- One of the things I’ve learned to enjoy more in the last 9 months is books that have less dialog and more description. During my first reading, I wasn’t a huge fan of the large, solid chunks of writing. I love seeing characters interact, but I’ve gotten much more acclimated to taking in the details. In fact, that’s something I now see Oliver does extremely well.
- Even though I’d read this before, I felt so much more connected to it this time. I understood Lena and didn’t feel the same frustration. I accepted that she was do-gooder (not saying this is a bad thing!) and rarely broke the rules. I didn’t expect her to suddenly “find herself” and then make an abrupt change. I really, sincerely believe that I went in to Delirium the first time expecting something from the story – having my own opinions about what Oliver could do with such an awesome concept – instead of allowing myself to enter Oliver’s world with an open mind.
I do have to say that while I was convinced to re-read Delirium, no one convinced me to change my opinion. I wasn’t paid off by the book mafia or anything. I really felt like the book deserved another chance since so many people have raved about it. I’m really glad I read it again.
So I ask you, readers, what book did you really feel disconnected with that others seemed to love? Did you read it again and did your opinion change?