A long forgotten sector of YA fiction is the group of books which show a dystopian future where sameness holds war and conflict at bay. A more recent series that is kind of like this would be the Divergent series, and a blast from the past more closely mirroring the plot would be The Giver. If you haven’t read the book, please read it first because you need this book in your life. Then, try Delirium.
Delirium is book 1 of a trilogy that explores the idea of love and desire having been eradicated from society. We are not brought up to speed on the events that caused this to happen, but upon reaching their 18th birthday, citizens undergo an evaluation to determine their pairing (marriage) as well as their future education and job prospects, and then a surgical procedure which alters the area of their brain which processes love. They continue their lives as adults who no not feel extreme emotions, especially love.
Of course there is an “other” in the form of Invalids, which are members of society that have either been rejected or have chosen to live in The Wilds, or the areas of society that are outside the confines of the giant electric fences which keep our characters “safe.” Our main character is on the path to her eval and procedure when she meets an undercover Invalid and we’re off to the love races.
I was amused that it was set in Maine. I grew up in Maine, and it’s not often used as a setting for books so I am always surprised/amused when I can read a book with landmarks, streets, and locations that I recognize. I was also happy that the physical interactions were not too sweaty. There is an enjoyable level of suspense as the main characters attempt to avoid discovery. Lauren Oliver also does a great job transitioning our minds from “okay this is the norm in this universe” to “wait, this doesn’t make sense and is wrong,” and The Book of SHHH quotes along the way help her to do so.
This first installment set the stage beautifully and makes you root for the characters. The second book in the trilogy is already waiting for me on hold at the library. I strongly recommend this book. It is a quick read, it is well written, and it’s an interesting world to escape to that doesn’t involve zombies, vampires, or werewolves. 🙂 Go get it!