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“Delirium” is Lauren Oliver’s sophomore novel. Her debut, “Before I Fall,” was one of the most memorable entries into the genre of YA fiction in 2010. With “Delirium” Oliver takes a step away from realistic teen fiction and enters currently very hot genre of dystopian literature.

“Delirium’”s dystopian future is built on a premise that love (or amor deliria nervosa as it is called in this novel) is a life-threatening sickness and that every citizen has to go through a brain “procedure” at the age of 18 to eliminate the dangers of it. Eradicating deliria brought peace and stability to the future society. Lena, the main character, is not far away from her 18th birthday and is eagerly anticipating her operation. She will finally be safe from the perils of love! She will never be depressed, obsessed or emotionally shattered. She will be calm, composed, peaceful, and safe forever!

Things change, however, when she meets Alex, a strange boy, who is destined to turn her world upside down. Suddenly, love doesn’t seem so dangerous to Lena any more, she is not sure she wants to be operated on and be rid of the new exciting feeling. Only will the society allow her to make her own choices?

“Delirium” will definitely attract fans of teen romance novels. Oliver’s portrayal of romantic love is nicely written. The author’s writing style in general has addictive quality to it. Her descriptions of landscapes are lovely.

Post - “Hunger Games” fans of dystopian fiction, on the other hand, will most likely find the book less satisfying. Oliver’s depiction of the future lacks plausibility, the plot is light on danger and urgency, and “love=life-and society-threatening sickness” premise, while original, is not sufficient to create a believable dystopian reality.

All in all, “Delirium” is a competent YA novel, but not a standout as “Before I Fall” was.

“Delirium” will be followed by at least two sequels, so readers should prepare themselves for an open ending.

Book Blurb for Delirium

Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

Lauren Oliver astonished readers with her stunning debut, Before I Fall. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it "raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful. An end as brave as it is heartbreaking." Her much-awaited second novel fulfills her promise as an exceptionally talented and versatile writer.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2011 3.25