Book Reviews





Delirium - review

"Symptoms of Amor Deliria Nervosa

PHASE ONE: -preoccupation; difficulty focusing -dry mouth -perspiration, sweaty palms -fits of dizziness and disorientation -reduced mental awareness; racing thoughts; impaired reasoning skills

PHASE TWO: -periods of euphoria; hysterical laughter and heightened energy -periods of despair; lethargy -changes in appetite; rapid weight loss or weight gain -fixation; loss of other interests -compromised reasoning skills; distortion of reality -disruption of sleep patterns; insomnia or constant fatigue -obsessive thoughts and actions -paranoia; insecurity

PHASE THREE (CRITICAL): -difficulty breathing -pain in the chest, throat or stomach -complete breakdown of rational faculties; erratic behavior; violent thoughts and fantasies; hallucinations and delusions

PHASE FOUR (FATAL): -emotional or physical paralysis (partial or total) -death" 

Title: Delirium (#1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder
Buy it: On Amazon


In a world where love is a curable disease, 17 year old Lena counts down the days until her procedure; a process similar to a lobotomy that will prevent her from contracting Amor Deliria Nervosa; love. She has already chosen her Pair - a boy named Brian - a government approved match who she will marry and have 2 children with, by government order, once she has finished college. Everything is going just as Lena knew it would. Everything is plodding along in a very defined, expected pattern towards it's happy ending: knowing she will never suffer from Amora Nervosa Deliria once her cure is administered. Everything until that day will be designed to limit her chances of picking up the disease.

That is, until she meets Alex. Supposedly cured, Alex introduces Lena to a whole other life she had never even imagined.

The Good

I loved the premise for this novel and I think it was portrayed really well. I found myself sinking into the world-building, and could really imagine Portland as it is in Lena's world. The theme of love as a disease is very clever - and very believable! (Who hasn't had a teenage heartbreak that felt like the world was falling apart?!) I was curious as to how Cureds and Un-Cureds would interact, and was rewarded with some great, awkward dialogues between the two.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Lena , Hana and Alex. Hooray - no insta-love! Hooray - a best friend who isn't a comedy counter act! The romance in the novel wasn't overly soppy either; bonus!
I found this little grouping of friends really endearing and I'm actually really looking forward to downloading book #1.5 - which is a short story focused on Hana.

The ending of Delirium #1 is great. Even though this is the first book in a series, I feel it also stands alone quite well. It is left open enough for a follow-up. but also has a sense of finality, if that's as far as you want to go with the books. The finale was dramatic, but not melodramatic, and had a great "final image". It felt very cinematic.

The Bad

If you take away the "world", the first 3/4 of Delirium is a very simple - at times cliched - YA novel. It feels quite standard and very familiar, owing to the fact that you could pick up any book from the YA shelf and have an 80% chance that if you swapped the dystopia, you'd have the same book. I just wish Delirium continued to gave me a kick of uniqueness and creativity in the narrative, not just in the world!

However, I enjoyed the book a lot despite this "bad" point - so I think it's more of an "I wish" than an actual "bad"!


Delirium is a very enjoyable read that has some lovely characters and a great idea to get it going. However, I felt that the originality of the world didn't carry through to the narrative for the first 3/4 of the book.


Extra! Delirium is commissioned as a TV mini-series! Keep your eyes on the blog and I'll post UK air dates (if and when they arrive) as soon as I know them!

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