Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Cover from
Synopsis: Lena is only months away from the big day - the day she will be cured of the disease called love. She's been waiting for this day for years because like all citizens, Lena believes that the cure means life without pain. Once cured they will all live safe and happy lives. 

Review: I picked up this book thinking that the plot was something new and fresh. I thought it would exciting, captivating, and intriguing. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

This is not a completely negative review so keep reading.

Let's start with the things I did like about this book.

I liked the concept. The idea that something we feel, experience, and look for, is not natural, that it's wrong - a disease, I thought that was interesting. I picked up this book because I was intrigued and I wanted to know where Oliver was going with it.

I like the quotes she put in the beginning of each chapter. They're excerpts from the books and manuals that citizens of her dystopian society live by. I thought it was clever, it provided some information about the inner workings of this world and how they really view love.

I liked Hana's and Lena's friendship. I liked that they were close (as much as young people can be in this dystopian society anyway) and that they have been friends since grade school. But they weren't so close that they had the same personality, they sort of complemented one another. I thought it was fitting that after everything that has happened to Lena and her family, she has someone who doesn't look at her like everyone else does, someone who can stand up for her. She needed someone who can coax her out her shell a little bit.

Another thing I liked was the description of Lena's apprehension about how her relationship with Hana will change after she is cured. It was touching, it was sad. It was believable. It's not that we worry about not remembering our childhood friends after we turn eighteen. The believable part is the difficulty of having to say goodbye to someone you've known for so long. I understood those moments and as I read them I just wanted to scream at Lena, "Hug her, tell her that you love her! Do it, now!"

Of course for Lena, it's not just that goodbyes are difficult, it's also that she doesn't know what to say. She doesn't know how to express how much Hana has meant to her because she doesn't know what love is like.

The last time they see each other made me tear up. That is more than I can say about the ending.

On to the things I did not like.

First, I thought the concept was poorly executed. The plot seemed to drag on and on. There wasn't anything exciting happening. For what seemed like a really long time, Lena was just waiting for her operation. I'm not looking for action because obviously this isn't an action, adventure story, but there was something lacking in the progression of the plot.

Unfortunately, it seemed like the book was stretched out by repetitive descriptions. Again, Lena counting down the days, her and Hana not talking, the description of the streets, the season, the robotic, monotone people.

At 441 pages there was no clear description of how this world came to be - how did scientists discover this disease? What happened in the world that made the government put up borders and change their beliefs? And of all the things they could be curing, why love?

I don't know and that annoys me. I should have answers after all those pages.

Even though it does sound ridiculous that scientists open up brains and dig around to cure them of the big bad disease (I dunno, the process was never explained), I can look past that. My biggest issue with the plot is that the cure also takes away their ability to be warm, affectionate, and connect with another human being. We're not talking about romantic love anymore. Forget about wanting to find someone to spend the rest of your life with, we're talking about being a human being. Once cured people can't even have friendships anymore. They just don't care about other people anymore let alone building relationships with them.

Also, there were descriptions of mothers not giving a crap that their toddlers fall off bicycles, get hurt, and cry. There were mothers who do not know how to take care of their own children because the cure alters them so much. Adults just walk around with a blank face, staring. And they don't have conversations that doesn't seem rehearsed.

It's all just so ridiculous to me. It's unlikable. Plus, I wasn't sold by the delivery.

As for the characters, they were okay. Not a single one stood out to me. Lena, the main character describes herself as "nothing special". I cannot say otherwise. Then there's Alex, her love interest. Who is he? What did he do? Why should Lena care about him? Why does she care about him? And why should I care about him.

Well, Alex winked at Lena. He smiled at her. They fell in love quickly and her world is turned upside down. There you go.

While I understand that sometimes that's all it takes for teenage infatuation to take over, and this is after all a young adult novel, this plot development is really nothing special.

So, I cannot recommend this book. The plot did not stand out. I just didn't buy it. And the characters were so one dimensional that I did not even care that the book ended the way it did.

I got to the supposedly "unbearable cliffhanger" (according to a review on, and it was meh. There were no chills, no tears, and no gasps. It happened. The book was over.

Maybe Pandemonium will be better. Anything can happen.

My Rating: 2 out of 5

Have you read Delirium
What dd you think of the ending? 
Will you read Pandemonium


  1. I haven't read Delirium but there are so many mixed reviews about this book! I think I need to read this book to find out myself! :) I'm a new follower, love your blog! It's awesome. :)

    1. Yes, that's right there are mixed reviews about this one. Thanks for following and commenting on my post. More reviews to come. =)

  2. I'm with you. I wasn't too wild about the book either. I need to have more information about how the world came to be and the book never gave it. I can't really get on board with something if the author chooses to not explain it.

    Alison at The Cheap Reader

    1. Exactly! I really thought this concept had so much potential. Too bad. Oh well, on to the next book, and it's a very good one! =)

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Good review :) Was just stoping to say that you're taged as part of my chain

  4. I really liked your review. I'm glad to read a review where someones honest about how they didn't like a book. Can't wait to read more from you!
    New follower! (:

    1. Thanks! I tried to be as honest as possible without seeming mean. I did like some aspects of the book, just not the whole thing.

  5. This post flowed so well - very easy to read and follow! Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Thank you! What a lovely thing to say! Thanks for reading. I'll be posting two book reviews this week.

  6. Hi!
    Great review. Glad to see the not so good in Delirium.

    I'm a new follower, found you in a Goodreads group and would appreciate a follow back at

    1. Hey Jenny! Thanks for stopping by and following. Glad you liked what you read in my review. I'll check out your blog right now!



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