Lena will be safe in 95 days. On her 18th birthday, she’ll have the procedure on her brain, then she’ll never catch ‘amor deliria nervosa’ – never suffer from love, like her mother did, like her mother who jumped off the cliff, like her mother who giggled with her and danced and sang. She’ll be away from her aunt’s house, where she’s an extra mouth to feed, an extra worry when the Regulators check everyone on Raid nights. Safety, sanctity, community: that’s the country’s motto now – the United States, where science and rationality are the only faith allowed.
Finishing up high school, being evaluated at the hospital to get matched for marriage, taking long runs with her friend Hana, working in her uncle’s minimart and hoping no one recognizes her – if Lena can just get through the few months till her procedure, then she will be safe. Her older sister is like everyone else now, 9 years after her procedure.
Erasing the love part of your brain with a laser usually snips off memories of your childhood, too, and wraps your other emotions in a fog. That must be better than being infected with the delirium that affects rational decisions and happiness, better than being like the Invalids who live like savages in the woods beyond the electrified fence that keeps Portland safe.
But when a herd of cattle thunders through the hospital on her Evaluation Day, Lena catches sight of an unknown boy her age … is he a Sympathizer who helps the Invalids attack the city from within? When Alex contacts her later, explaining his past, revealing secrets about the procedure and the Invalids and her mother, Lena is breathless and concerned and… might fall in love.
Why does the countdown to her procedure go so slowly at the same time as it races by? Can Alex be telling the truth about the government and the procedure and her mother?
A compelling story of loss and possibilities, Delirium will have you cheering for Lena and Alex as you think and worry and wonder about this vision of a future bound by rationality and limits.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA
“The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you when both when you have it, and when you don’t.” pg 11 (digital galley edition)
In Lena's world, love has been outlawed. The government decided that if people can't feel love, they also won't experience the other strong emotions that can be tied into it like hate and pain. Therefore, scientists have created a procedure that will remove your ability to love forever, and everyone gets the cure on their 18th birthday. While there are some outlaw Invalids that have not been cured and resisters that don't agree with this system, Lena is eagerly waiting for her turn to become one of the Cured and to find out who she will be assigned as a "pair" (or spouse). When she goes to her evaluation (the first step in the process), an unplanned interruption gives her a glimpse of a boy that she has never seen before. When she runs into him again later, she finds herself increasingly drawn to him. As she begins discovering new feelings and emotions that she has never experienced before, will she run away from him or draw closer? When the time for her procedure arrives, will she be ready for it, or will she fight to hang onto the boy who made her feel love for the first time?
You will find yourself rooting for Lena and Alex and begging her to make the choice to stay with him in the Wilds. This is an amazing and heart-wrenching book!
Recommended by Brandy S. Huffman, Librarian
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver, Trailer by Sherry Thompson