Lena lives in a future dystopia where love is considered a disease. Everyone receives "the cure" around the age of 17 and this is a procedure that children are preparing for their whole life. Each cured is matched with a mate, told how many children to have, and pushed into a predetermined profession. It's controlled, it's predictable and it is for everyone's safety, but it's all a lie.
Lena's mother committed suicide after having the cure three times and never being truly cured. She raced out of the house one night after telling young Lena "I love you, remember that. They can't take it". Lena was then raised by her aunt and became an outcast for having a diseased family. Many teens show signs of amor deliria nervousa, but the cure takes all of those symptoms away, along with any feeling or passion.
While on a normal run with her best friend Hana, Lena meets Alex, a cured that seems to have a secret. Then Hana starts listening to non-approved music and going to parties. Lena is trying to save Hana but at the same time, she's discovering a whole new world herself. She befriends Alex and learns about his troubling past, and how that could effect her predictable future.
All in all, Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a thought provoking book. What if your whole life was planned? What happens to your relationships after the cure? What would it be like to be raised in a world without love? Not only are teens not allowed to show love toward members of the opposite sex, but parent's don't even show love to their children. Parents treat child rearing as a chore or duty. That's very disturbing to me. But like so many dystopian heroines before her, Lena must choose between escaping to the wilds to survive on her own and fight, or accepting society promise for a perfectly predictable life, much like in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series or Rachel Cohn's Beta. That's a part of the dystopian genre, the main character must leave society to fight from the outside.
Delirium is a good book and was definitely worth my time, but I realize that I have read too many YA dystopias lately because I am getting pretty cynical about them. I have one more on my reading list, Divergent, but I'm putting that on the far back burner for right now so I can cleanse my palette with some light middle-grade chapter books, or even a big stack of picture books.