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Delirium (Delirium Trilogy) Hardcover – February 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,631 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Delirium Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2011: Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels (mostly) relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of deliria, a.k.a. love. She tries not to think about her mother’s suicide (her last words to Lena were a forbidden “I love you”) or the supposed “Invalid” community made up of the uncured just beyond her Portland, Maine, border. There’s no real point—she believes her government knows how to best protect its people, and should do so at any cost. But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure. In this powerful and beautifully written novel, Lauren Oliver, the bestselling author of Before I Fall, throws readers into a tightly controlled society where options don’t exist, and shows not only the lengths one will go for a chance at freedom, but also the true meaning of sacrifice. --Jessica Schein



Lauren Oliver’s Delirium Playlist

In Delirium, the government requires that all teenagers be cured of love, a.k.a. deliria, to keep society safe. But 95 days before her treatment, Lena Haloway falls for a boy--and must face the truth about her own feelings and the world in which she lives.

In this exclusive playlist, Lauren Oliver shares the songs that capture this haunting novel about the power of love and what one will risk in order to keep it.



Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver: Author One-on-One

Gayle Forman is is a self-described "perpetual teenager" and an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children. She is the author of Where She Went and If I Stay. Recently she sat down with Lauren Oliver to discuss their work. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Lauren interviewed Gayle.

From Gayle Forman: Lauren Oliver is kind of mind-blowing. She wrote her intensely moving debut, Before I Fall when she was 26, which seems impossible given the book’s depth and wisdom. She followed up with the deliciously provocative love story Delirium, the first of a trilogy, and her first middle-grade book, Liesl & Po comes out in the fall of 2011. On top of that, she’s constantly cooking up book ideas for her literary development company. Somehow, she managed to slow down long enough for us to talk shop over lunch in our mutual hometown, Brooklyn.

Gayle Forman

Gayle: You have like 100 balls in the air. Are you one of those people who thrives on an insane amount of activity?

Lauren: I’ve been busy and overextended my whole life. I wrote half of Before I Fall while I had a full-time job, was a full-time grad student, and worked part-time in a nightclub. I wrote the first half of the book on my phone on the subway. I’d email the chapters to myself.

Gayle: You wrote the book on your phone?

Lauren: It’s very rare that I write on my computer. A lot of times I’m writing on subways or in the back of cabs or on airplanes. I know the exact quantity of lines on my BlackBerry and how it relates to word count.

Gayle: Well, that brings me right to my question about process. How does an idea become a book for you? How did Delirium arrive?

Lauren: I’d read an essay by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that said that all great books are either about death or love and I’d already written about death. And I started thinking that I’d never written a love story. It was out of my comfort zone. The next day I was at the gym, and the TV was on and the news report was all about the swine flu epidemic. It was the latest in the flu scares. And I thought it was so weird how easily people become panicked. You can convince people that anything is an epidemic. So much is propaganda. And the two ideas just combined in my head. And the character of Lena started narrating immediately.

Lauren Oliver

Gayle: Moral of the story, budding writers: Go to the gym.

Lauren: Most of my breakthrough ideas come at the gym or while showering.

Gayle: Me too! And I’ll run out and start writing and be dripping in a towel.

Lauren: I’ve actually ruined computers that way. I think what happens is punctuated equilibrium: a period when changes are accumulating but not visibly, the simmering is happening. Then, when your mind is very relaxed, what was unconscious becomes conscious.

Gayle: On the surface, there’s a very big leap between your first two books. Before I Fall follows Sam, a prototypical mean girl who has to relive the last day of her life while Delirium follows Lena who lives in a creepy world in which love has been outlawed. But really, both of these girls start out conformists and challenge the constraints on their lives.

Lauren: Transformation is very important to me. I definitely am very interested in how people become who they are. In change. In characters who are damaged who and who feel initially unlovable—and in their redemption through feelings of love.

Gayle: Who are you more like, Lena or Sam?

Lauren: Sam is more similar to how I was in high school. I was rebellious. I went out and partied and did all the bad things that she did. Lena is just… she’s so obedient and so scared of doing anything wrong. I was so fond of her. I kind of loved her in this way, I felt so protective of her. She’s so fragile and also brave.

Gayle: That was exactly how I felt about Mia in If I Stay. I loved the strength of both Sam and Lena, in relation to their love interests. Even in Delirium, where Alex is the one who sparks Lena’s rebellion, she’s no damsel in distress.

Lauren: I don’t believe in damsels. That’s not a model of femininity or heroism I subscribe to. Everyone has to learn to save themselves. It can be through the mechanisms of loving other people but you have to learn to save yourself.

Gayle: Dystopian fiction is very hot right now. Did you have any idea you’d be on the cutting edge of this trend?

Lauren: I never heard that word when I wrote Delirium. I mean, I knew what it meant but not as a category. Delirium is supposed to be a meditation on love, what it does, good and bad. Because there have been times when if I could have reached inside to take out my own heart out, I would’ve. Books can’t come from categories; they come from a desire to say something about the world.

From Booklist

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. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus
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Product Details

  • Series: Delirium Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061726826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061726828
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,631 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,240,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Most reviewers have mentioned Lauren Oliver's beautiful writing, and it really is beautiful. She writes like seasoned pro. I read her sentences and thought that here is a woman who was truly born to write.

But, as beautifully constructed the sentences may have been, they added up to a story that just didn't do it for me. I personally gravitate more toward the faster-paced books. I like to be grabbed by a story immediately. Delirium is definitely not a fast-paced book. At over four hundred pages and only the introductory part of a projected trilogy, the pacing of this story is, perhaps expectedly, sloooow. I felt every one of those 400+ pages.

The entire story follows Lena as she very gradually comes to terms with the realities of her dystopian world. This is to be expected. It is the first book in a dystopian trilogy, so naturally the first book is the "awakening" part of the story. It may just be me, but I often find these books boring. I want to get to the action! I want to see the main character fight against the dystopian society. I don't want to spend an entire book watching them hesitate back and forth between the-world-is-good/the-world-is-bad when I the reader already know the world is definitely bad (hey, it's a dystopian!).

Especially when they do this over the course of 400+ pages. Despite the fact that the writing is beautiful to read, I felt like screaming at Lena to figure it out already. There wasn't any question that Lena would eventually turn against her society (she has to; there would be nothing to write in the rest of the trilogy if she just went along with things), so it was especially frustrating to spend so much time reading about her indecision. I also had a hard time liking and connecting with Lena as a result of this.
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Format: Hardcover
*reviewed my MM's (Katie) -

Warning: while reading this book you may experience severe reactions to amor deliria nervosa, also known as falling in love, something that's "cured" aka banned in Delirium's society. Side effects may include sleepless nights while reading Delirium, the inability to concentrate on anything else but reading this book, nervousness over what's going to happen to Lena & Alex, having your heart ripped out, sighing, finding yourself sitting on the edge of your seat, kissing your book, running out to pre-order PANDEMONIUM, petting the new beautiful cover, telling all your friends to go pick up this book, and of course falling helplessly in love with the brilliant, and breathtakingly beautiful writing of Lauren Oliver.

Can you imagine living in a society where LOVE is a disease?! I seriously loved the way Lauren created a fascinating society that "cures" love. Yes it may seem hilarious, but when you read DELIRIUM it totally makes sense. Lauren's writing is just awesome! It's richly detailed, it's poetic, captivating and I love that she really makes me think. Lauren is truly a gifted writer and I swear she could write a story about the most outlandish thing and make it credible. Here's a taste of Lauren's beautiful prose, which is also one of my favorite quotes from DELIRIUM:

Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you- sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in it's tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever. - pg 153

This is one of the many reasons why I adored Lena, the story's main protagonist.
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Format: Hardcover
This is possibly one of the most difficult reviews I've ever written because, like many other people, I have been infected with amor deliria nervosa. Meaning: I loved this book.

Delirium was an exquisite read. Lena's life, her world, is one of control and awareness. Her mother committed suicide when she was younger because she was afflicted with amor deliria nervosa - Lena vows to never be like that. She fears the procedure that will change her life forever, but she also welcomes it, wanting the normalcy that it will provide. Upon meeting Alex, a cured boy, things begin to change and Lena starts to see her world for what it really is.

Lauren Oliver has crafted this dystopian world that, on the surface, does not appear harsh or cruel or bad. But underneath, below the blank faces and the shiny atmosphere, is a world where people are losing their emotions, the feelings cut right out of them. The setting of Portland, Maine is a character all on its own. I felt like I was right there, in Portland, smelling the ocean and feeling the salt on my skin. Oliver's writing is, for lack of a better word, breathtaking. Her characters are so human and filled with the life that the cure takes away.

I was instantly taken with Lena and her desire to hold onto her mother's memory, but also to separate herself from it. She wants to be a good image in her family and knowing that the cure will tear her apart from her best friend Hana, is devastating. In Lena's world, love is a disease and diseases must be inoculated. When Lena begins to have deliria-like feelings for Alex, she begins to see reasons why there are Invalids and people who would rather die than lose themselves to the cure. It is terrifying and tragic and haunting and beautiful all at the same time.
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