If love was a disease would you want to be cured?
Delirium is another young adult book that I read as a result of reading a chapter sample in a sampler collection I picked up whilst at the London Film and Comic Con earlier this year. there were five book extracts in the sampler and I bought all of them, but this is the first one I’ve read.
The book is set in a future governed by ‘evaluators’ who treat people like lab rats as they are analyzed and rated then cured of the disease ‘amor deliria nervosa’ – Love. the procedure does more than just cure you of love, it makes you incapable of strong desires and you change so much, old habits and friends are forgotten, gone forever. Everything from your education, partner, marriage, to children and job are regulated and the Book of SHH (Safety, Health and Happiness) once you turn 18 and have the ‘procedure’ – there is no such thing as freedom of choice.
Set in a society closed off to the world, segregated boys and girls, cured and uncured. It’s like something historic and wrong but this is the future, not the past.
The story follows Lena as she approaches her 18th Birthday; she is looking forward to her ‘procedure’ with nervous anticipation, counting down the days. She wants to be cured of the disease having witnessed how it destroyed her mother, who pined for Lena’s father so much after he died of cancer when Lena was just a baby, in the end Lena’s mother committed suicide rather than endure a fourth attempt at the procedure to ‘correct’ her of the disease. In addition her aunt died after her marriage to her sympathizer (supporter of the uncured) led to trouble for the family and Lena’s Uncle disappeared, leaving Lena’s young cousins to live with Lena and another Aunt. Despite her excitement at the procedure Lena is not looking forward to some of the associated things – the pairing, marriage, parenting and most of all the wedding night. But first she has to get through her evaluation – the biggest test of your life, where you are assessed for suitability and pairing. Her first attempt at the evaluation is brought to an abrupt end when a major disruption ensues, which ends up being a blessing as she was blowing it big time! In the meantime she is worrying about the increasingly different behaviour of her best friend Hana, who has always been different but now even more so. And then theres a boy… Alex, an uncured, who comes into Lena’s life just when she really doesn’t need a new distraction…
I like the change in Lena when she falls for Alex, well it’s not so much a change as a realisation of what she has always known but was conditioned to believe was wrong.
Hana is a great character who brings out the best and worst in Lena, and the love between her and Lena as such close friends shines through although I doubt even they realised that their feelings for each other were a form of love.
One character I would like to see explored more is young Gracie, Lena’s silent cousin who seems to have great hidden depths…
I really enjoyed the new world created in this book, although it is not one I would like to live in! The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, with an ultimate sacrifice for Love (a word which is also banned in Lena’s world) but a lot of unanswered questions – thankfully there is a second book due out next year, so I can find out what happens next.
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