Delirium
by Oliver, Lauren






Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until right before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.





Oliver's follow-up to her smash debut, Before I Fall (2010), is another deft blend of realism and fantasy. The hook is irresistible: it's the near future, a time when love has long since been identified as a disease called amor deliria nervosa, and 17-year-old Lena is 95 days away from the operation that everyone gets to cure themselves. Can you feel the swoon coming? Enter Alex, a rakish daredevil who, as it turns out, is one of the Invalids-a tribe of uncured who live on the lam in the surrounding wilderness. With the clock ticking down to her surgery, Lena is drawn into Alex's world, one of passion and freedom, while her emotionally castrated family members hope to turn her into yet another complacent zombie. Oliver's masterstroke is making a strong case for love as disease: the anxiety, depression, insomnia, and impulsive behavior of the smitten do smack of infirmity. The story bogs down as it revels in romance-Alex is standard-issue perfection-but the book never loses its A Clockwork Orange-style bite regarding safety versus choice. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.





Oliver's artfully detailed prose reveals, brick by brick, the sturdy dramatic foundation of an initially implausible premise. In her dystopian America, love has been outlawed as the life-threatening source of all discord. Citizens submit at the age of 18 to a neurological procedure that "cures" them of amor deliria nervosa, the chief symptoms of which are passionate feelings about anything. Poetry and contact between members of opposite sexes are forbidden; the authoritarian government rules with suspicion, violence and bureaucratically arranged marriages. As Lena, the soon-to-be-18 narrator, approaches the date of her procedure with both trepidation and relief, she meets Alex, a boy who inspires feelings that upend everything she has believed about her community and herself. Lena's gradual awakening is set against a convincing backdrop of totalitarian horror. Chilling epigraphs from the government's rewritten histories begin each chapter, providing contextual propaganda so thorough that they've even reinterpreted the Bible to suit their message. The abrupt ending leaves enough unanswered questions to set breathless readers up for volume two of this trilogy. (Science fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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