Second, this book did not dissuade from wanting to read more of her work. It's amazing. So, I'll just have to wait to see where she goes next. Because she's anything but typical.
Typical authors stick with a certain genre, or within a certain type of book. Maybe this is because they are comfortable writing this way. There's nothing wrong with it. It just is. Lauren Oliver is not this writer. Her first book was a great novel, but it was a fairly realistic read. It had some elements of the paranormal, but there were no vampires or werewolves. This novel, Delirium, starts and ends in a whole other direction. It's totally different, but just as engaging and intriguing as her first. In my eyes, she has passed her sophomore year with flying colors. And, I'm not ready for her to graduate!
Delirium is the story of a futuristic world where love is forbidden. Once a teen turns into an adult, they are given an operation that sounds a bit like a lobotomy and any intense feelings go away. No deep lusting love, no blinding rage. Their emotions turn vanilla for the rest of their lives.
The main character, Lena, is all set to go through with this procedure. She has read all of the literature, and is deeply concerned that she will fall in love and ruin her chances for a safe, calm life. This fear is rooted in the fact that her mother, who committed suicide when Lena was young, was never cured. Lena's mother left behind a little girl who is deathly afraid to have intense feelings of any kind.
But, Lena meets Alex. He's cured, she's not. So, she's allowed to talk with him. But every time she does, she cannot stop thinking about him. She risks her perfect record of good behavior and breaks curfew to be with him. She stops hanging out with her best friend so often. She lies to her aunt about where she's going. In short, Lena falls in love.
And once she does, nothing is the same. Alex opens Lena's eyes to a whole other lifestyle. There are "Invalids" who live in the woods, teens and young adults who hold special parties filled with music, dancing and mingling. There are spies and secret rebels who are working to infiltrate the government and create change. Lena had no idea.
This world is so carefully created and so believable. I fell deeply into the stress and conflict contained within it. This book was probably made more realistic for me personally because it takes place in Portland, Maine, which is our state's largest city and funnest place to be. I knew every street, every cove, every location Oliver spoke about in this book. I could easily picture it. Because I knew where it was all happening, I almost felt like it could happen. Like there would be a time that the government would seek to control emotions to control its people. It's a little far-fetched, but an interesting exploration nonetheless.
I highly recommend this book to Lauren Oliver fans, to those who enjoyed Ally Condie's Matched, and to fans of the dystopian genre. It's good.
**Read as part of the ARC Tours at Dark Faerie Tales**