By Lauren Oliver.
Amor Deliria Nervosa. Love. The disease. It is ninety-five days until Lena turns eighteen. Ninety-five days until she gets the cure that will protect her from love forever. Evaluation day is looming and Lena’s nerves are starting to kick in. She has always looked forward to the cure, looked forward to being free of the burdens that took her mother from her and the pain they left behind. Ninety-five days until she will be cured, matched with a husband and will begin the rest of her life, and Lena is counting.
What she did not count on was becoming infected before the cure; the timing is typical. In totally unexpected circumstances, Lena meets a boy and before she knows it she is rapidly progressing through the various stages of the disease. Everything she thought she wanted now seems unimportant and everything she believed so firmly seems to be flawed. Her scheduled date is looming and Lena’s determination to be cured is beginning to fade.
Delirium is based on the concept that love is a disease and in a sheltered society those who are yet to be cured live under curfew, tight rules and regulations and above all else in fear; fear of falling in love, fear those who have not been cured, fear of what will happen if they break the rules. This is one girl’s story of quiet acceptance that progresses to a slow understanding of how controlled her life has been.
Oliver uses language to her full advantage. Her descriptions of what love is, poetry and other elements of life and literature that are banned in this society are truly beautiful and allow the reader an insight into what life is like for Lena and her peers in a restricted society that is frighteningly believable.
Delirium explores the idea of what happens to a person when love and the emotions and physical reactions associated with it are taken away. The story follows the young protagonist’s journey as she discovers for herself the harsh realities of her environment and the possibilities that exist beyond it, building to a climax that truly gives you chills and leaves you desperate to know what happens next.