Lena Haloway is less than six months away from getting the procedure known as ‘The cure’. In a world that is surrounded by the all-knowing government, people receive the cure as soon as they are eighteen. Love is a disease that makes one crazy, dangerous and out of control. Everyone is fearful of catching ‘deliria’. Her mother committed suicide because of it; her sister nearly suffered the same fate. Lena is determined to stay in line, receive her cure with accompanying marks and be paired for immediate marriage after college graduation. It’s just as life is supposed to be.
It’s during her evaluation that something changes in Lena. Unable to vocalise her practiced answer, she nearly loses everything, but an unforeseen distraction causes her test to be invalid. It’s also when she meets Alex: a nineteen-year-old boy that bares the mark. He’s cured, providing Lena with a security blanket for their friendship. If he wasn’t, she could be hauled away to the Crypts for being seen with him. Being too busy following all the rules, there’s to more to Lena’s world that she’s never noticed. As the bubbles of her life gradually pop, she’s going to have to make a choice: To love, or to die.
I have to be honest, I much preferred Delirium to Oliver’s Before I Fall. Lena is an excellent example of how effective brainwashing can be. I see this book as a spooky foretelling of America’s future. Living in a country that’s known for its ‘Big Brother’, I found myself wondering how far is too far for a society to be looked at? I can’t imagine a world without free speech or the freedom to love whomever you want. And yet, there are many passages where this easily could have taken place in a modern day America.
This is a story about growing up, falling in love and discovering what is important in life. People are different; a large population cannot conform to one simple ideal. History has proven this and Delirium takes advantage of human nature the right way. What would the world be like if we weren’t allowed to love? What would happen to a society if they found a way to love again? A fast paced read with a love story of Romeo and Juliet, I’m really hoping my local library will have the second book available! (Just checked – it’s a disappointing no.)
Many thanks to the publisher Hodder & Stoughton for sending me two copies from their social media campaign!