Every once in awhile an author rockets onto the scene whose books have the ability to grab you, shake you up, twist around your insides in a delicious way, and refuse to let you go even after you've closed the pages. For me, that author is Lauren Oliver. (Also at this point I should say, getting between 4-5 stars out of me isn't always easy - this book got a solid, resounding 4 stars.)
Delirium introduces us to Lena Haloway, who lives in a futuristic United States, in a time when love has been pinpointed as an actual disease, and a cure administered beginning at age 18. The widely touted cure safeguards you from love, and, it seems, from many other emotions as well. Lena's sister, Rachel has been cured for years; all Lena can think about is her procedure. Her biggest fear is ending up like her mother, who after three failed attempts at the cure, was still stricken with love and committed suicide - but not before leaving Lena with a message: I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.
Alex changes everything for Lena. Suddenly she is recognizing the symptoms of deliria in her own thoughts and actions. But she is unable to stop seeing him, and as their relationship progresses, unable to keep from questioning the rules and beliefs she has placed all her faith in.
I loved almost everything about this book. I truly don't think I could say enough good things. I enjoyed that our female lead was the sort of character anyone could sympathize with and cheer for; Lena isn't perfect, she even describes herself as in-between. In Alex's eyes, confident, brash Alex, she begins to see herself as beautiful, as special. As Lena questions what she has been told, she begins to grow into an independent, courageous young woman, who is far more capable than she has ever realized. Her relationship with Alex blossoms into a signal of hope, and their romance is beautifully crafted.
I loved that this book made me think. When Lena asked questions, I asked questions. And the answers weren't simple or reassuring. They were terrifying. Imagine a world where the government tells you what to believe, what to feel, who you will be married to, that they know what is good for you. Then imagine discovering they have been lying to you all along. Love is not the malady they claim it is; love is a blessing, as Lena discovers. And if they have lied about that, what else
Supporting characters like Hana, Lena's best friend make this book all the more fascinating. Lena's drone-like "cured" family members exist to, as the book progresses, act as a contrast between how Lena, who is feeling, sees and experiences life, and the droll future the procedure promises. I would like to have seen the spark that Hana possesses followed through on; I was a little disappointed with how Oliver left her character in the end of the book. And I couldn't get enough of Alex - I wish we had seen a little more of his back story. He comes across as rather perfect, and I liked when Oliver scratched his surface and we saw that he wasn't.