Friday, October 5, 2012

Bad Ass Books: Delirium

I realize this review is a little late to the party, but if your TBR pile is anything like mine, then you're probably finishing books well over a year after they come out. I mentioned reading a lot of books this summer, and Delirium was one of them.

Summary (from Lauren Oliver's website):

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing.

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.

Spoilers are in white. Highlight to read.

Why I read it: There's an interesting story behind this one. Earlier this year, I won a contest on Meredith Barnes's (Soho Teen) blog, which culminated in a query letter and first 30 pages critique. I had entered when I thought my manuscript was ready to query. I won after my critique partner suggested a rewrite. Ouch (but a really, really good idea). Meredith got to read the first 30 pages of my re-write in progress. She asked me about comp titles, and (of course) I listed some highly unattainable authors. She thought Vic (my protag) sounded a lot like Lena and recommended I read Delirium. I bought it, and a few weeks later, I read it.

ZOMG Yes! My biggest ZOMG yes about this book was its focus on Lena's relationship with Hannah. Yes, there's a romance. There's obviously a romance--it's a dystopian set in a world where there's a cure for love. But Lena's relationship with her best friend really shapes her, affects her choices, and in many ways enables her romance to bloom.

Also, the best thing about this book is the twist. HUGE SPOILER AHEAD (You've been warned. If you highlight, I take no responsibility for ruining this book for you). The fact that Lauren Oliver had the audacity to kill Alex at the end of the book, to build up this love story and then force Lena to fight for love for the rest of the series after Alex is gone shocked me--in that heart-sinks-into-your-stomach-but-gives-you-hope-for-the-character kind of way.

Meh: I was wrong about where this book takes place. It says Portland. So I assumed Portland, Oregon. It wasn't until I read book two that I realized we were in Portland, Maine. This really threw me.

Overall? I liked this book a lot. Unfortunately, I read it right after Insurgent, so I was still on a Tris high and wasn't able to love Lena as much as I'd like. But Pandemonium (review to come) totally brought me back in.

Badass? Yes, if only for Oliver's sheer audacity (which it's not only for, but still).


  1. Don't worry -- you're not the only one way behind the reading power curve! I still haven't read Delirium, and I only just finished Mockingjay last week (I put that one off for a long time).

    I hadn't really been interested in reading Delirium because it sounded like it focused too much on the romance side, but your review makes it sound more balanced. I'll have to give it a whirl (next year, maybe? Haha).

    1. Thank goodness. :) It's so not just about the romance. And the end! Oh the end. Wow.

  2. I really enjoyed DELIRIUM! And the relationship between Hannah and Lena was one of the reasons why. I haven't gotten to PANDEMONIUM yet, but it's on my list.

    1. You MUST read Pandemonium. Oh man. I'll have a review up next week (most likely).

  3. Delirium has been on my TBR pile for a while but seriously, now that I know it takes place in Portland, Maine (my hometown), it's getting bumped to the head of the line...

    Have you read Oliver's book Before I Die? I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would.

  4. YES! Pandemonium, I thought, was even better than Delirium. I loved Lena with Julian, and I thought he was a much more interesting love interest. I can't wait to read your review of that one because the ending... OH MY GOD!