Delirium is a book that I’ve always looked at, but for one reason or another, never decided to read. It was one of those that was always in the back of my head – “I’ll have to read that one day,” until finally, after seeing a number of my students with it, I decided to go for it (I had also just finished creating a summer reading list for myself, made up entirely of YA books, and was eager to start).
Delirium takes place in the present-day United States, with a couple of major differences. The most important is that the government and society believe love to be a disease which must be cured. Without love, the society is safe. As a person approaches their eighteenth birthday and nears high school graduation, they undergo a number of tests and evaluations. Some are meant to determine whether or not they will attend college after high school, or be placed in a basic job; another test helps determine which job the person will be placed into, and the final tests are to find suitable matches for each person. Once a person receives their approved matches, they choose one from the list and that becomes their life partner, but only after they have both undergone the procedure to be “cured” – to no longer feel love.
Lena is approaching her eighteenth birthday and looking forward to her procedure, and starting her new life of normalcy and safety. She and her best friend Hana begin their summer after graduation just like every other summer, until Lena meets Alex, a security guard at the labs where her procedure will take place. This sets into motion a series of events which help her to realize that Hana isn’t quite the person she’s always known, and that maybe love isn’t worth curing.
While some aspects of this book are somewhat predictable because of the dystopian setting (and very similar to aspects of other dystopian novels), the story is original enough that it made me want to keep reading. Lena as the narrator was very easy to connect with, and I’m sure teenage girls will feel the same. I liked how real the society felt, and how similar to our own it was. It didn’t take a lot of imagination (which isn’t always a bad thing) to visualize the town, the school, Lena’s neighborhood, etc., and I found myself more able to focus on what was going on rather than trying to keep minor details straight. I also thought that Lena’s inner conflicts were very relatable – growing up learning and believing a way of life, only to find through different experiences that maybe you don’t agree with those beliefs – but what is right?
Bottom line, I really enjoyed this book and have since flown through the sequel, Pandemonium (review coming soon). It’s a great choice for anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction as well as romance. If you liked Matched, you’ll definitely like Delirium!