Nadia’s Nook: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Story by Nadia Pulu 

“Delirium” by Lauren Oliver initially stood out to me for its intriguing concept. A story set in a dystopian society, in Portland, Oregon to be exact, where love is a disease and the American society is forced, by the fascist government, to be cured of it. 

I loved this concept not only because I hadn’t read anything exactly like it before, but also because of the slight jealousy I felt from not having thought of it myself. It was an enjoyable read for sure. Like all great dystopian novels it has a strong female lead character who is relatable and described as “plain looking” which I’m convinced is a prerequisite to qualify for this role in any dystopian novel. 

Although, what struck me about this character, Lena Haloway, was that she isn’t only described as plain, but also quite narrow minded and prone to blissful ignorance. Of course, she has some character development which was satisfying to read. There is an overwhelming sense of relatability to her. Being just a teenage girl she struggles with anxiety and constant self doubt, something everyone has been guilty of at least once in life. These feelings only intensify once she meets her love interest, Alex, an undercover resistor from “the Wilds,” a place outside of Portland unregulated by the government. It’s only through Alex that Lena learned what love really is.

My own feelings while reading this book consisted of highs and lows. At times I couldn’t put the book down and kept it probably 6 inches from my face while it sucked me in. Other times I felt like I was reading just waiting to feel that same rush again. The second feeling happened much more often. 

Like I said, the concept, amazing, the execution, well that fell a little flat for me. I just felt like I was waiting for something awesome to happen. I mean I love a good love story as much as anyone, but personally I would have liked a little more action and adventure. 

My favorite dynamic wasn’t even Lena and Alex actually. It was Lena and her lifelong friend Hana. Their friendship was genuine and I saw a lot of my own friendships reflected in it. Lena and Hana are both definitely girls’ girls. I loved the relationships so much that I wish Oliver would have conveyed her message more rawly and emotionally. It felt like she was just before the finish line, but never quite took that final step. It was… safe. No risk factor. Again, good book and amazing story building, but I’m not in a rush to read the rest of the series. 

Overall, this book is about the importance of love and how without the bad feelings the good ones wouldn’t be worth as much. Oliver uses different relationship dynamics between family, friends, and lovers to convey this idea. She built an interesting world with meaningful character building. It left me feeling incredibly grateful for the people in my life. 

After reading “Delirium” I have no doubt you won’t call up your loved ones just to remind them how much they mean to you. To quote Oliver, “You can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes.” We all need love otherwise what’s the point of all this?

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