Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Amor Deliria Nervosa: Yeah, I've Kinda Got It

(Image from Indiebound)

Love makes people crazy; everybody knows that. That's why scientists worked so hard to find a cure, to eradicate the disease that leads to so many other evils - anger, jealousy, emotion, heartbreak, depression, even rebellion. Now, everyone living in the fenced-in city of Portland, Maine, receives the cure for amor deliria nervosa on their 18th birthday, rendering them incapable of love or passion or disobedience or dreaming or really, anything that requires independent thought. Erasing these things makes society predictable, safe.

Seventeen-year-old Lena Haloway can't wait to be Cured. She's tired of feelings constantly ping-ponging around inside her. There's sadness over her mother's suicide 11 years ago, shame for her uncle's defection, anxiety about her upcoming tests, and disappointment with her older sister, who hasn't been the same since getting Cured. Lena doesn't want to feel any more. She wants to be Cured. All she has to do is make a good impression on the judges at her evaluation, then as soon as her birthday comes, she'll undergo the procedure, be assigned to attend college, then pair with a boy with equally high marks. Predictable. Safe. That's all Lena desires.

The under eighteens are not allowed to speak to members of the opposite sex any more than is absolutely necessary. Lena sees why as soon as she meets mysterious Alex Warren. Athough the marks on his neck indicate he's been Cured, Alex has more passion than anyone she's ever met. He's funny, carefree, daring. Just talking to him makes Lena's heart race at a speed that's definitely not predictable or safe. In fact, it feels downright dangerous. And yet, somehow, she can't get enough of him. Soon, Lena's sneaking off every chance she gets to be with Alex. She knows the allure will fade in 95 days when she receives the Cure, but until then, she'll get as much of him as she can. Even if falling in love means jeopardizing everything.

When Alex reveals shocking truths about the Cure and its effects, Lena realizes just how much she really is jeopardizing. Suddenly, she's surging with anger, fear, paranoia, which only shows her how safe it feels to be with Alex. Can she really let the government stop her from ever feeling again? Especially now, when she finally understands what it means to love, to live? As her 18th birthday races closer and closer, Lena has to decide what she wants before her superiors take away her power of choice forever.

So, it seems like the hundreds of book bloggers who've reviewed Delirium by Lauren Oliver lately either love the book or hate it. Maybe I'm going soft, but I'm with the former. I mean, yes, the book's pretty typical dystopian, with only a smidgen of true originality. And yes, the characters needed some serious developing. And, okay yeah, the plot's pretty contrived. And then there's the tell-not-show-iness of the writing. Still, I kind of loved Delirium. It's got the post-apocalyptic creepiness factor (even though it's not the end of the world), plus lots of danger, romance, and heart-stopping (if predictable) action. So, si, I enjoyed it. Do I think the plot has some holes? Yep. Do I think Oliver's dystopian world needs some structural aid? Yeah. Do I wish the story had some Matched-esque subtlety? Absolutely. Will any of this stop me from reading Delirium's sequels? Not a chance.

(Readalikes: Reminded me a lot of Matched by Ally Condie, also of the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, Birth Marked by Caragh O'Brien, and a little of The Line by Teri Hall)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for language (two F-bombs plus infrequent use of milder invectives), violence and brief (not graphic) sexual content

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of Delirium from the generous folks at Harper Teen. Thank you!

8 comments:

  1. LOL, nice, honest review. I have this one on my shelves, and it's calling to me pretty consistently.

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  2. Hm... I probably already lost my touch, since I thought it was great! Mostly I couldn't put it down, so I figure that = good book for me. :)

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  8. To me this book was eye opening. I realized just how much it mirrored my life and while people say it's dystopian location does not mirror today's government, I would say they are wrong. We tend to live in a bubble where we like to think life can be perfect, or at least I did. One day, the love of my life finally showed up and he opened up my eyes and boy did I have a lot to realize. I believe this book is absolute genius and kiddos should be exposed to literature like this. My favorite part of the book however was Lena's contemplation about love. Should she go with what's safe and available or go on and take a chance to discover what's not known. Love should feel how Lena felt it towards Alex, love should your partner like as if you only have 95 days left! I am not sure if this was the author's intention and I have yet to find any interviews with her discussing this book, so if you have any please share :)!

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