Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Delirium  - Lauren Oliver Also appears on The YA Kitten. Read and reviewed for the H.Y.P.E. Project (details here).Sixty-four years after love was declared a disease, citizens of the United States are regularly cured as soon as they turn eighteen--sometimes sooner if they are in danger of being infected with amor deliria nervosa. Having seen how the disease affected both her mother and her older sister, Lena is counting down the days until she is cured. About three months before it can happens, something terrible happens: she meets a young man named Alex and falls in love. Her procedure date comes closer and closer, and Lena will be forced to choose between a life devoid of love with her friends and family or a life on the run with the man she loves. CharactersLena is our typical protagonist devoid of personality, self-esteem (until Alex comes along--that all these heroines have to be validated by men before they can feel worthy angers me), and the ability to realize that Romeo and Juliet is not a love story. If I had a dollar for every book that misinterpreted that play... She says at one point that most people only spend time with her because they have to, and I can't help but think there is a good reason for that. I wouldn't want to hang out with a girl whose thinks (paraphrased) "Thank goodness we don't have free choice or I would have no one because all those pretty girls would have all the boys" either.This book would have been much more fun if Hana had been the main character instead of flat, dreary Lena. (Yes, I am aware of the Delirium-related novella Hana. No, I am not reading it. I'd rather not chance the ruination of the only character I could stand.)Plot/Pacing Hm? There was a plot and forward momentum? The book trudged along so slowly without greater action that I must have missed them. My economics textbook was more interesting three-fourths of the time.Themes/Conflicts The government is supposed to be constantly watching the people for any signs of sympathizers or dissent, but they are woefully ineffective as antagonists until the plot demands they do something. Lena and Alex should have been caught much earlier than they were. Something else that annoyed me is that there are two main examples of love in the book: the relationship Rachel had before she was cured and the one Alex and Lena have, and the former helped define who Lena is. The problem is that neither relationship demonstrates love. They look more like infatuation with very slight obsessive elements to me. WritingI've heard much about the beautiful prose Lauren Oliver spins. I saw brief flashes of what people were talking about while reading Delirium, but I was largely unimpressed. I suppose she had to much of it in Before I Fall (which I have not read yet but may read one day) that she was spent by the time she wrote Delirium.On the bright side, the fake excerpts at the beginning of each chapter made me feel horrified just like they were supposed to. It's not for the reason the book wants me to feel that way, but I'm horrified nonetheless. LogicI kept the other sections deliberately short so I could expound on how this book is by far the most flagrant in its disregard for logic among the hundreds of books I've read over the years. It is a black hole, sucking in all attempts at logic and destroying them within seconds. Let's think about economics. Love is not just an emotion; it's an industry. Everything to do with love, from the candy and cards to matchmaking services, pump millions, possibly billions, into economies around the world every year. Suddenly, love gets outlawed. Severe economic damage ensues unless there is something to immediately replace all that lost income. How is the loss of such a large source of income replaced? The United States as portrayed in Delirium has closed its borders, rendering itself entirely self-sufficient and unwilling to import goods from other countries. Yet there is no sign that there is any sort of economic hardship among the people or that there ever was one. Really? All of this would result in a worldwide crisis and possible collapse.Now we can think about it in terms of how humans love. Just as naturally as we blink and think, human beings love. Removing the ability to love from them and then forcing them to raise children is asking for disaster. The children, raised by parents that don't love them when the children can love, would rebel in large numbers as they aged and the world would have been fucked with rusty kitchen utensils dipped in a toilet before being shoved in an open wound.Finally, who decided to outlaw love in the first place? Why? What did they have to gain from removing something so necessary as the ability to love from human beings? We love love. It causes us pain sometimes, but that is the nature of love and we persevere. I can't understand for the life of me how we would get to that point. To me, the power of a dystopian novel and what truly makes it great is the sense that our society could really fall that far and become the horrid environment the book of choice portrays it as. For all the reasons I just explained and more, Delirium does not have that power. The world appears to exist more to enhance Lena and Alex's story than anything and that is an insult to what dystopian novels are about and why they are written.Was it worth the hype?Nope. It wasn't worth a word of it. The writing, the dystopian elements, the characters--I found all of them underwhelming. I wish I could say I knew what my friends were talking about when they praised this novel, but I do not.Bonus cover sectionI am unimpressed with the covers for both the hardcover edition (the blue one with the girl slightly visible within/beneath the text) and the paperback version (clearer picture of girl's face).