Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Spoiler Free)

Delirium by Lauren OliverDelirium by Lauren Oliver
Read: September 14 – October 12, 2012
Format: eBook (library book), 307 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-20695-42

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada

Personal read.

Book Blurb: 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 government 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.

My Opinion: First and foremost, this book didn’t actually take me that long to read. The copy I was reading auto-returned to the library and I had to wait for another one. One of the downsides of an e-reader versus real books… I can’t choose to eat late fees to finish off a book. But I digress.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a dystopian young adult book following Lena Holoway as she prepares to receive the cure for love on her eighteenth birthday. Of course, the plot sets her up to fall madly in love before receiving the cure, and it doesn’t disappoint. Predictable young adult plotting strikes again.

This was the book that prompted me to write my blog post about character appearances. Because Lena is always described as being plain, average, etc. Oliver drives it into our brains at every chance she gets that she is just an average girl. Her best friend is prettier. Alex is, of course, insanely attractive, leaving Lena to wonder what he sees in her. This is a plight in young adult books and is only serving to feed young girls’ insecurities. “I am not pretty, so why does he like me?” Ugh.

For the first 200 pages of Delirium, nothing really happens. There is an incident with some cows, but other than that, the book was boring to me. Lena and Hana talk a lot… about the procedure, about life, etc. They run. It is like following a pair of normal teenage girls in a bit of a different world, but there is nothing exciting there. I will say that the last hundred pages or so picked up considerably, with things happening in fairly quick succession. The ending was pretty well written, and if I wasn’t so disenchanted with the rest of Delirium, the ending alone might have been enough to save it.

The worldbuilding is severely lacking. Some of my friends who have reviewed this book thought that was a good thing, but I personally didn’t. I need worldbuilding. I needed to know more about why they decided love was a disease, etc. It is all just kind of sketched out and instead of leaving me wanting more, it left me dissatisfied.

The characters in Delirium are all pretty one-dimensional, as you would expect teenagers to be. But they lacked sparkle, and something to make me go “Yeah, I want to read about you!”

I shelved this book as romance, and I am looking at it and second guessing myself. It is dystopian for sure, and borderline romance. But it follows the typical young adult path of not allowing the characters to actually take time falling in love. They just… are. To me, there is no romance in that.

Bottom Line: Another disappointing young adult book for me. I hate leaving a series unfinished, but I definitely won’t be rushing out to pick up book two in this one any time soon.

(Image and book blurb courtesy of

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