When I read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver last year, I knew she was going to become one of my favorite authors. Little did I know, she'd completely flip the script and blow my mind with her second novel, Delirium.
Lena Haloway lives in a dystopian society where basic freedoms have been taken away, and eighteen year olds are forced to undergo a procedure called "the cure" to prevent them from becoming afflicted with amor deliria nervosa, a deadly disease that can kill you; a disease also known as falling in love.
Lena, while a bit nervous, is looking forward to the procedure. Without it, she worries she'll end up like her mother, who not only fell in love, but underwent the procedure three times (unsuccessfully) and eventually committed suicide. In addition to being "cured," Lena hopes the procedure will rid her mind of the painful childhood memories and confusion left behind by her mother's choices and actions. She simply wants to live a normal life. She wants to feel safe.
Then she meets Alex, who doesn't' seem to abide by the government's strict rules. He's exciting and dangerous. And Lena cannot stop thinking about him. It's not difficult to surmise where the story will go from there, but it was interesting watch Lena go from subservient citizen to a bold, curious girl who questions authority and starts to think (and feel) for herself.
Delirium is a chilling portrayal of a dictatorship where people have become one-dimensional and cold. More chilling is the government propaganda that is presented at the beginning of each chapter--re-written history and stories meant to scare citizens into submission.
A lot of writers get stuck in a rut where they're writing the same story over and over again. I applaud Lauren Oliver for taking a chance and doing something so different for her second novel. I found the story absorbing and slightly unnerving. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.
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