At its core, Delirium is a coming of age story. It’s about a girl who learns who she is and what she is made of. As the story progresses, Lena learns to accept herself and to make her own decisions about life instead of doing things just because someone told her it was good or bad. Most importantly, she grows up and learns that sometimes pain isn’t a bad thing.
Love is a strong theme throughout Delirium. Every character, every plot twist further examines the concept. Obviously Lena falls in love with a boy and that’s one of the biggest ways love is explored, but I was so pleased that Delirium also looked at the strong bonds of family and friendship and how non-romantic love can be just as powerful, if not more so than romantic love.
Romance drove the novel and opened Lena’s mind to love, but everything about Lena’s character oozed the question of parental love. She is severely conflicted about her mother, cherishing childhood memories yet blaming her mother for the blemish she placed on the family she left behind. Lena, a properly conditioned citizen, despises love, yet her every action cries out, “Did my mother love me?” It is this question and Lena’s unacknowledged need to answer it that brings the novel to its climax.
But let’s talk about romantic love! 😉
There’s one point where Lena is afraid that she’s contracted the deliria and she keeps checking for signs. The Book of Shhh (the government/religious book that belays the evils of the deliria) lists symptoms against which Lena checks herself for the “illness,” but she doesn’t have any of the symptoms. She thinks she’s safe, but she’s so obviously in love.
Love isn’t textbook. It isn’t clinical. Everyone falls in love differently, and that’s a beautiful thing! Watching Lena go through the process of falling in love was really sweet. The romance is quite endearing and made it so that I could not put the book down!
My only problems with the book are that it was a little too long and that there wasn’t enough conflict. There were some scenes I felt dragged and didn’t really add much that could have been cut out, and the majority of the conflict came from Lena’s impending treatment date. I kept on expecting things to explode, but they didn’t. Lena even made a comment on the same level as “What else could go wrong?” and thought things were about to get really bad, but it didn’t. Delirium is highly character driven, and the relationships drive the plot more than anything else.
Delirium is an enjoyable read that I highly recommend to people who like both dystopian and YA romance (or even just romance). The writing is very good; here’s my favorite example: “Time jumps. It leaps. It pours away like water through fingers.” The words just flowed so well that coupled with a good story and good characters made Delirium a great book that I can’t wait to read the sequel to!