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Book cover image from goodreads.com

They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway 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 with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

(Story synopsis from goodreads.com)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver has been on my (very extremely) long list of Books to Read for a while. It was originally published in 2011, but I just got the chance to read it (thanks to the library at the high school I work at).  At my high school, we have SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) on most Wednesdays, and in order for me to practice what we preach, I needed a book to read and a YA book from my to read list seemed perfect. And it was.

I picked up Delirium earlier in the week (after I finished reading Poe), and I have not been able to put it down.

Oliver presents a fascinating look at the future of the United States and insight into a society where love has been “cured” in Delirium. We are given the perspective of Lena, who is a high school student and only months away from having her procedure to make sure that she is cured. Lena, and her best friend Hana, spend the end of their school year and their summer as any typical teenager would…enjoying the time before they are to become adults and start college classes.

However, we start to see (pretty early on) that Lena’s time before her procedure is to happen is going to be anything but typical. And it all starts with a herd of cows. (Huh?!) Not only that, but Hana starts to become daring and begins finding out where illegal gatherings are happening (boys and girls socializing together! [gasp!]) and unapproved music is being played. These things open the girls up to a world that they never knew existed (and had been told by the adults in their lives could result in contracting the disease).

What disease? The disease of love, of course. In Lena and Hana’s society, love is something to be avoided. Something that is dangerous and can only lead to insanity and brings nothing but misery. This disease is something to be feared and avoided at all costs. And Lena can’t wait until the day that she is cured, when she no longer has to worry about accidentally becoming infected; she can’t wait until she is “happy.”

But Alex changes all of that for Lena. Alex shows her that not everything she thought to be true really is. That some of the “dangers” that exist can actually lead to happiness.

Oliver does a fantastic job of taking the reader through the whirlwind of emotions that Lena feels as she struggles with everything she’s been taught and everything she now knows. Delirium forces the reader to consider what truly would be best for all, and who decides? How do we know what the truth really is? Are those lying to us really trying to protect us? Delirium might be considered a YA lit novel, but there are many real life questions that must be faced.

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