Delirium by Lauren Oliver; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver

Published: February 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 448

Rating: 5/5

Review Sent to HarperTeen:

People fell in love with Lauren Oliver the moment Before I Fall hit shelves. Delirium will take their adoration to a whole new level. The idea of our most valued treasure being a disease, an illness –  something to be despised – is intriguing enough, but Oliver comes at this idea with thoughtful and mesmerizing prose, making the book somewhat of a masterpiece. A novel about a world that seems loveless and destitute but so full of passion, admiration, and love, Delirium will push readers to the edge of their seats. And then leave them teetering. This book made me wonder, it made me cry, but most of all, it taught me to cherish my delirium.


Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love. [From Goodreads]


First of all, let me bring to your attention the fact that I really wasn’t that much of a fan of Before I Fall. Sure, I thought it was okay. I don’t regret reading it. However, I wouldn’t feel as if I had missed something really special if I hadn’t.

The same simply cannot be said for Delirium. Oh. My. Gosh. The idea, the concept is so fantastic and thought-provoking, but when you add to that Oliver’s entirely evident talent for making you feel precisely what the characters are feeling, you get a hit. This book isn’t character driven. It isn’t plot driven. It’s love driven from the very start.

There’s something utterly great about a world that fascinates you. Immediately, you’re entranced by the little details of the dystopian society. The nearly loveless world in which Lena lives is frighteningly like ours, but then the little details show themselves and make all the difference. People’s eyes are glazed over. Coed is unheard of. People fear love. Oh, yes, they do. There’s the whopper of a difference. Love is so appreciated and sought after and glorified in our society (as it should be!). It’s one of my favorite things in the world. And to have it removed?

Worst yet was knowing in the pit of your stomach that the main character, Lena, and her fabulous friend, Hanna, are headed toward a loveless fate. The characters in Delirium are very well fleshed out and dynamic. They’re perfectly imbalanced. They contradict themselves and fight amongst the various versions of themselves floating within them. It’s wonderful to read because their contradictoriness and abnormalities make them real.

Lena is intriguing for these very reasons. She’s so conflicted. You itch for her to make what you believe is the right decision and, sometimes, she just doesn’t. Sometimes she just does. And with every one of those “failures” and “victories,” you see her growth. It’s a wonderful feeling to watch her branch out and really blossom. To “come into herself.”

Hanna is one of the best girlfriends ever. The girlfriends in books tend to be spunky and daring. I suppose she is, but she also struck me as so much more than that. She was certainly one of the most contradictory of all the main characters. One second I would think I knew her, and the next she would surprise me. For once, she’s the sort of daring and funny friend who I can imagine being my friend. Hanna’s deep and thoughtful. Hilarity is just the icing on top.

Naturally, I couldn’t finish this review without talking about Alex. He’s amazing. Really. I love that he’s valiant and spontaneous and funny and thoughtful and passionate and intelligent. Oh, wait. I just described your Prince Charming? Mine, too. He’s somewhat of an enigma at the beginning, and I don’t want to spoil that fluttering mixture of apprehension and excitement you’ll feel in your stomach as you read, so I’ll be shutting up.

The development of the characters, their relationships, and the plot all fit so perfectly together. Not simply like a jigsaw puzzle, but like a jigsaw puzzle without the classic tattered corners and peeling paper. Though things moved along a bit slowly at first, everything was made up for by the fantastic second half. Tension built at the exact same pace as my interest grew as a reader. You sink into this book slowly, but sink you do.

Truthfully, there was a shining moment, a bit of the book so remarkably perfect and unique and beautiful that made it deserving of 5 stars. That made it amazing.

The. End.

The end is heart-wrenching/-stopping/-breaking. It made me cry, but I was so happy to cry because the ending was so right. It’s written in such a way that you feel everything. Every moment pings your skin and stings like hail. You just have to succumb to the heartache because it’s undeniable that the end of Delirium is exactly what it needs to be.

*Thank you, thank you, thank you for the ARC!

PS. If you’re interested, read my interview with Lauren and

her dashing character, Alex! Click here.

3 Commentsto “Delirium by Lauren Oliver; Review”

  1. Awesome review 🙂 It made me even more excited for it! I can't wait to get my hands on this book! Again, GREAT review! I loved reading it!

  2. I loveloveloved BEFORE I FALL, so I have no doubt I will downright adore DELIRIUM! I am so jealous of your ARC, but I will wait patiently for the book to come to stores… Or I'll try to wait patiently.

    Great review!

  3. I'm so excited for this book! I bought an ARC edition on ebay…!

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