Since love had been identified as a disease, everyone has an operation on their 18th birthday. The operation cures a person of armor deliria nervosa, and then you will be safe forever. Lena is counting the days until her 18th birthday. She has been looking forward to it for years. All she wants is to be safe. But then she meets Alex. Alex isn't safe, even though he's 18. Alex is from the Wilds, where people don't have the operation. Even though Lena knows better, she wants to keep seeing Alex, and before she knows it, they've fallen in love. Lena is still counting down the days until her 18th birthday, but now it means the end of her world.
I really enjoyed Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, which I thought was thought provoking and original. I was hoping for more of the same from Delirium. I didn't quite get it. I knew what was going to happen the moment the book started. Clearly Lena, who was so safe in her protective world, was going to fall in love with some guy and realize that All Was Not As It Seemed. Which is exactly what happened. So it was pretty predictable. But I will say the end was a little surprising. There was a bit of twist involving Lena's mother, who committed suicide when Lena was little. Lena's mother didn't respond to the operation, and supposedly love drove her mad. That was an interesting side-plot.
So this operation, I have questions. It seems like it doesn't just get rid of love, but emotions of all kinds. People who have had the operations have a glazed, kind of glassy way about them. It's like all feelings are gone. Except people can still get angry. There's plenty of adults getting angry. And adults being cruel. Super cruel. So I found that inconsistent.
One thing I did like is how Lena's preservative of herself changed. Lena has always thought of herself as average and plain. She's nothing special, she thinks. She doesn't believe that Alex would like her over her beautiful friend Hanna. As Lena and Alex fall in love, Lena begins to see herself as Alex sees her, and her confidence grows, not just in her physical appearance, but in all aspects of her life.
I think teens who enjoy dystopia romances will like this books as well. I just didn't think there was anything particularly different or exciting about it.