About the Book

Title: Delirium (Delirium #1)
Published: 2012
Series: Delirium
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Flash That Bling
BFF Charm: Yay!
Talky Talk: Straight Up Gorgeous
Bonus Factors: Graduation, Dystopia Reclaimed
Relationship Status: Crypt-Worthy

Cover Story: Flash That Bling

Sure, it’s a little girlie, but I LOVE THIS COVER. Did I mention that it SPARKLES like a vampire in the sun? Not only is it pretty, it also conveys the heady, seductive feel of the actual delirium. But if for some cray cray reason you don’t like it, know that removing the jacket won’t solve the problem… just, trust me.

The Deal:

Ever had someone hurt you so badly, you wish you could sign up for a heart transplant? Well, first of all, you should know that feelings don’t actually come from your heart, sweetie. They come from your brain! And second of all, you will definitely change your mind after you read this book.

In Lauren Oliver’s dystopian United States, scientists have figured out a way to cure the disease known as amor deliria nervosa, which you and I call love. See, our old pal love has been causing too many problems, too much war, too much depression, and now every citizen in the country goes through a medical procedure at age 18 in order to prevent love from wreaking any more havoc. People are calm and peaceful now, and anyone who threatens to disturb this order by showing real affection is either executed or throw into the prison known as the Crypts.

Lena is scared to death of contracting delirium and turning out like her mother, who committed suicide rather than live without love. Counting down the months until her procedure, Lena is ready to enjoy her last teenage summer of beach days and afternoon runs with her best friend, Hana. But then Lena meets Alex, a 19-year-old boy who’s been cured. And even though there shouldn’t be any danger of the disease, Lena starts to feel its symptoms as Alex shows her the dark side of living in a heartless world.

BFF Charm: Yay!

Yay BFF Charm

Lena, girl, I want to thank you for the muscle mass I gained by doing thousands of fist pumps on your behalf. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU! You started out as a total goody goody rule follower, and since I was the same way in high school, I completely understand, especially because you had to overcome a lot of childhood trauma. Not only did your mother kill herself (after your dad was taken away by the po-po), but people either ignored you or taunted you because they were sure you were infected by your mom’s delirium. Those haters can suck it, because you turned into a strong, badass woman. Not only that, but you’re a great friend to Hana, even though she’s like ten times more gorgeous than you and also super rich and I’d actually kinda hate her if I didn’t see how awesome she is so I totally get why you can put your jealousy aside.

Speaking of, I totes gotta award a BFF charm to Hana, for being such a rebellious influence on Lena, and to my lady Grace, Lena’s cousin. Grace, you don’t have to speak for me to know that you are the best character in this entire book.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Forbidden love is always hot, but when it’s, like, forbidden by law, it reaches scorching levels. On top of that, Lena is a virgin in the truest, most puritan sense of the word. I mean, think back to your first kiss. Sure, it probably ended up being sloppy and gross, but you went in with certain expectations after watching Sixteen Candles a thousand times. Lena has NEVER seen a real kiss. She’s never even seen a teenage boy shirtless. (Remind me to keep her away from New Moon, otherwise she might have a heart attack and die.) So when she starts hanging out with golden-eyed hottie Alex, her feelings are so new, so magical, you might end up contracting the delirium through the pages of the book. CAUTION!

Talky Talk: Straight Up Gorgeous

Even though this is only her second book, Lauren Oliver has already become one of my top fave YA writers. Her writing is a sublime mix of stunning description and aching emotion that completely absorbs me, which can alternately make my heart beat faster or stop completely. Here’s an example, from Lena’s high school graduation:

I watch the girls circulating in their orange gowns like flames. Everything seems to zoom back, recede away at once. All the voices intermingle and become indistinguishable from one another–like the constant white noise of the ocean running underneath the rhythm of the Portland streets, so constant you hardly notice it. Everything looks stark and vivid and frozen, as though drawn precisely and outlined in ink–parents’ smiles frozen, camera flashes blinding, mouths open and white teeth glistening, dark glossy hair and deep blue sky and unrelenting light, everyone drowning in light–everything so clear and perfect I’m sure it must already be a memory, or a dream.

But even with her lovely prose, Oliver never sacrifices pacing, and there were plenty of times that the action got so intense, I had to scan the page just to make sure my heart wouldn’t explode from the tension. So, yeah, her style? Not for people with heart conditions.

Bonus Factor: Graduation

Screenshot from Booksmart, with two best friends wearing graduation caps and gowns and thrusting their clasped hands in the air

I swear, if I could bottle the high that comes from graduating high school, I would make it my drug of choice. Oh wait, someone already did that, and it’s called YA LITERATURE. No, but for realsies, those days leading up to Lena’s graduation, and the big day itself, were among my favorite parts of the book. Oliver’s stirring descriptions of Lena’s hope and excitement and nostalgia made me want to get out my senior yearbook and read over all of the notes just to remember how amazing and bittersweet it felt to rush out into the world, only to look back and realize that you’ll actually miss the place you couldn’t wait to escape.

Bonus Factor: Dystopia Reclaimed

Scene from Bladerunner with a flying car in a city looking at a giant electronic billboard of a geisha

Relationship Status: Crypt-Worthy

My love for this book is so strong, I could never hide my symptoms of the delirium. I’d refuse the procedure and ask this book to run away with me, out of the country to a place where we could be free to be together. Even if the enforcers caught me and threw me into the Crypts, I’d never renounce my love. The guards might try to beat me, but my devotion would remain unwavering. The only thing that might truly kill my spirit is the amount of time I have to wait until the sequel comes out. Y’all, I DON’T THINK I’M GONNA MAKE IT.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought this book with my own damn money. I received neither cocktails nor money in exchange for this review.

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.