Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blind Date With a Book: A Review of Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Hey friends. Sorry that this post has been a long time coming, but it's been a hectic couple of months without much time for blogging. My grandma passed away, and my husband and I are moving to Ann Arbor at the end of this month for his graduate school. Needless to say, we've been a bit busy! I have, however, had some time to read here and there, and I have completed a few books. I will be posting the reviews of those books over the next few weeks as I have time. 
So, without further ado - a review!

Has your local library ever had a Blind Date With a Book event? I'd seen the idea on Pinterest a few times, but hadn't ever seen it put into practice, until recently. Washington Public Library held a Blind Date With a Book month where they had a shelf of books that were all wrapped in construction paper so you couldn't see what the covers looked like. All they said on the outside was what genre or age group the book fell into and one quote or sentence describing the story. As a book geek and a mystery junkie, I was of course intrigued. I looked at every book on the shelf! I could tell from the description that I had already read a few of them, such as The Hunger Games and Unwind (both of which I highly recommend!). But one line stood out to me above the others, so this was the one I picked up.

Is love a disease? A most intriguing idea. 
So I checked out this book and had my first blind date ever!


AuthorLauren Oliver
Publication Date: Feb. 7, 2012

Quick Summary
Lena lives in a futuristic America where love has been declared a disease, amor deliria nervosa, and the society has discovered a cure - brain surgery that takes away emotions. The government regulates everything: when you get the cure, where you go to school, what your job will be, who you will marry, and if/when you will have children. Each city is surrounded by an electrified fence to keep out people from the Wilds where the deliria runs free. What Lena has yet to realize is that the fence is actually meant to keep cured people in. When Lena meets Alex, a boy that only looks like he's cured, she begins to feel the onset of the deliria and starts to see her very structured life in a different light. The question is: if love is a disease, is it one worth dying for?

My Thoughts
Although I had heard of Lauren Oliver and her book, Before I Fall, I hadn't heard of Delirium or either of the other books that follow it in the series. The blind date description was an accurate one, as the book dealt heavily with the idea of love being classified as a disease, an idea I find most interesting. Overall, I liked the book. I thought that the love story was a bit predictable and the idea of an over-regulated society and bit overdone, but I found the amor deliria nervosa to be quite compelling and unique. An entire society based on the idea that love is deadly and destructive... We honestly can't argue the point. People do crazy things for love. We see it over and over again in literature, movies, music, theatre, television, and our own history. It takes us out of our right minds and can occasionally make us violent and, more often, make us stupid. But love has many more facets than romance. What happens when we take away parental love and nurturing? Or the love of siblings and best friends? What happens when an entire society loses its love and thus its passion and compassion? 

Throughout the novel, Lena is a very relatable character. She has had quite a bit of trauma in her young life. Her mother committed suicide instead of receiving the cure, leaving Lena with only the haunting and forbidden words of "I love you" to guide her. She is ruled by fear and is unsure of herself, as many normal teens are today. But in her world, she can count down the days until she will receive the cure and not have to worry about contracting the deliria like her mother did. She is looking for her place in the world, but also trying to keep her head down and not draw too much attention to herself. She just wants a normal life without any more pain or trouble. I think most of us can relate to having this feeling every once in awhile. 

But then her best friend, Hana, begins acting strangely. Hana is popular and beautiful and rich. Lena doesn't understand why she would be dissatisfied with her life. Isn't that what we all want in some capacity? To be popular and beautiful and rich? But Hana sees her life as short. She wants to have as many "real" experiences as she can before she has the cure. She begins listening to forbidden music and going to secret parties with dancing and alcohol and boys. Lena becomes very confused and fears that the worst has happened to her friend. She even joins Hana on more than one occasion to try to keep her out of trouble. Again, relatable. Many of us have probably had (or been) that rebellious friend who needs to be taken care of while experiencing life. 

But Lena's attitude begins to change when she meets Alex (It's always due to a boy, isn't it?). He has all of the markings of the cure, a scar and a job in the society, but the way he talks and looks at Lena is different. He is mysterious and, of course, quite attractive. And Lena can't help but find herself drawn to him (and don't we all?). She finally realizes that she herself is showing signs of the deliria, but by then she is in too deep. Can she even live without Alex? How did she ever think that the cure was a good idea? And will she go to desperate lengths to keep love in her life? You'll have to read it to find out! I don't want to give too much away now. 

Though the love story is pretty predictable in the way it plays out, the ending of the book is very redeeming in that I didn't see it coming. It is shocking and, quite frankly, makes the entire book a whole lot better. I can't wait to read Pandemonium and see what happens next! 

Is love a disease? 
I think the argument could be made for it, 
but it is definitely a disease I want to live with!!

Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5 hearts. 
But I give my Blind Date With a Book experience a 5 out of 5!
A few flaws, but worth reading. 

On another note...
I also read Supernaturally by Kiersten White during this time and even started writing a review before I noticed that Natalie had already done so! Oops! So I posted a short version of my review as a comment on hers. You can see it here if you're interested. 
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