Imagine a world where love is outlawed. It is logical, really. Love is a dangerous thing. “It affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your own well-being” (3). “Humans, unregulated, are cruel and capricious; violent and selfish; miserable and quarrelsome. It is only after their instincts and basic emotions have been controlled that they can be happy, generous, and good” (354). All teenagers get the surgery to remove emotions at age eighteen, when their brains have been deemed sufficiently matured. Lena is looking forward to the surgery, when she can move on from the legacy of her mother, whose surgery did not succeed and was taken away from her family in shame.
Until Lena meets Alex. She never understood why anyone would not want the surgery until she connected with Alex and realized that she was showing symptoms of amor deliria nervosa. Alex opens her eyes and heart not only to strong feelings that she didn’t realize were possible, but to problems in her own government and a community of resistors who lived outside the reaches of the government. What will she choose?
Delirium, by Lauren Oliver, is the first in a trilogy that delves into the familiar realm of a dystopian world. Although the first half of the book is a bit slow-moving as Lena realizes what she is feeling for Alex, the second half of the book has more action and twists as we realize all the problems she faces if she decides to resist either her feelings or her responsibilities as a citizen. Readers that are enamored with other dystopian fantasies such as Hunger Games or Divergent will also enjoy Delirium.