There’s heavy-handed government, electric fences and lack of individual control. Add to this sympathizers, violent raids and a rumored group of outlanders. Round it out with secrets, lies, overzealous watch groups and you have Delirium by Lauren Oliver.
Lena is so ready for The Cure. She has heard horrifying stories about teenagers who caught the disease and suffered from paranoia, euphoria, despair and lethargy. Kids died because they tried to refuse The Cure. She cannot and will not be one of them. The Cure will make her happy and safe and will remove the stain of her mother’s suicide.
Doctors discovered that love is the deadliest disease of all: amor deliria nervosa. The Cure is required for all citizens so that everyone is safe from infection. In fact, there are many steps that the government takes just to make sure that the populace is protected: electrifying the fence that separates Portland, Maine from The Wilds; having people known as regulators patrolling the neighborhoods; and identifying sympathizers who are against The Cure.
In 95 days, Lena will turn 18 and have the operation that will make her calm, obedient, compliant, safe. Her immediate family, which includes an older sister, aunt, uncle and cousin, are cured and glad of it. Lena has no reason to feel any differently until the day she and her best friend, Hana, meet a cured boy named Alex. The summer before Lena’s birthday becomes filled with confusion about her burgeoning feelings for Alex and the gradual dawning that the things she has always believed may not be true.
Who is Alex? Where did he come from? What is the truth about The Cure? What is in The Wilds? Are there really people called the Invalids who fought the Cure? Who is this faceless government that makes these seemingly benevolent decisions? Most importantly, what is the true story about Lena’s mother’s death? As the countdown ticks away, will Lena run out of time before she can discover the truth?
I highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy reading stories with dystopian themes. The book had much more to it than just the standard “girl is drawn to mysterious boy” theme and offered up a fresh twist. The promotion of love as a potentially fatal illness and The Cure itself are deeply sinister, though no one who has been cured seems to notice. I want to know: who is this faceless government? Other than a few references to it, we really don’t hear anything from them. Where are they? How is it possible to make (almost) an entire nation agree to take The Cure? Pandemonium, here I come.
Delirium was published February 1, 2011. The second book in the series, Pandemonium, came out on February 28, 2012. The final book in the trilogy, Requiem, will be published February 2013.