Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium, #1
Summary: 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.
Magdalena "Lena" Haloway Tiddle has grown up in a world without love. In the future of the United State of America, "love" is a disease: amor deliria nervosa. Lena has grown up believing that loving people is wrong and sick and disgusting and that at any moment she can contract the disease that her mother couldn't be cured of and in the end committed suicide for. She is terrified of becoming her mother. Lena counts down the days until she is eighteen years old and can be cured.
But then she meets Alex. A boy she first sees laughing behind a glass at her evaluations when something quite funny happens, but I won't go into that because of spoilers. She doesn't officially meet him until later in the book when she's out running with her best friend Hana. Her relationship with Hana becomes rather complicated in the middle of the book, when Hana starts listening to banned music and fraternizing at parties with boys when, before a person is cured, it's illegal. Lena doesn't understand why Hana would even want to do these terrible things, but can't seem to stay away from them herself, even when she's disgusted by them. And she can't understand her feelings for Alex at first. She can't understand why she wants to be around him so much, knowing that he's cured and that he is off limits to her in every way possible. But then she learns the truth. He isn't cured. He's faking it for everyone, except her. Slowly she begins to realize that loving someone isn't wrong. It isn't a disease like she's been forced to believe her whole life. She finally realizes why her mother did what she did. Why she didn't want to be cured. And I loved her relationship with Alex. I loved everything about them together. They were perfect for each other. Everything about them was beautiful. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about them as a couple. And this is where I have to put a SPOILER!!! I HATED THE ENDING!!!! HATED HATED HATED IT!!! I hated that she had to go on into the Wilds without him. I hated that their escape didn't go as planned and that she had to leave him behind, and that he was just standing there bleeding, yelling at her to RUN! I was almost in tears. It was one of the saddest things I have had to read. Because I don't know if he dies once he's in custody, or if he lives. I don't know if they'll ever see each other again, but I'm hoping that he lives and that he escapes, or she breaks him out of the Crypts. And if he does live, I hope they don't end up killing him or giving him the cure. END SPOILER!!!
There are a few twists that I didn't see coming; some of these moments were heartbreaking, yet uplifting (I won't go into details. If you've read the books you know what I'm talking about; if you haven't, you'll know when you get to that part of the story). I think the reason that it took so long to get to the action and exciting parts is because Lauren wanted us to feel everything that Lena was going through. She wanted you to feel her anger, disgust, fear, love, joy. All of it. She wanted us as readers to get a feel for the kind of person Lena was before she fell in love with Alex, and she wanted you to believe in the love Lena felt for him. I know that sometimes I'll read a book and I'll think "how did she fall in love with him?? Why? What is it about him? When did this happen? They don't even know each other!". It just isn't believable to me, and I had wished the author took the time to show their relationship and make it believable, make me feel the emotions the character is feeling. But with Lena and Alex, it would completely believable and I think that's what makes me love them together so much because it wasn't this instant thing. Lena went through a lot before actually falling for him and you see her fall in love with him.
While I had a hard time believing in amor deliria nervosa and the cure, it was still a fantastic read. And a little terrifying to think that an entire nation believed that love was a disease and that people needed to be cured of it. Some of the characters were scary in the fact that they were completely indifferent and were like zombies. They feel almost nothing and they don't even dream. When they do, it's about little, mundane things like washing the dishes. They didn't care one way or another and truly believed that the cure was the answer to their problems. That they were happier without love than they ever could've been with it. I'm really curious to see where Lauren will take the story from here because at this point I have no idea.