Where do I even begin to describe my love for this book. Before I Fall is one of my all-time favorite novels and though the sophomore slump is known to happen to some authors, I knew that if Lauren Oliver could blow me away with her debut, her second book was going to be fantastic. And not surprisingly, I was right. So right! I mean, for a book to hook me right from it’s dedication (which is possibly the loveliest dedication I’ve ever read), well, that’s talent. Not to mention it’s the only book when right after finishing, I went straight to my email and expressed (or more like rambled endlessly) to Lauren how much I absolutely loved her books, her talent and her constant ability to make me cry. I still remember being teary-eyed while typing. Me--a person that hardly ever cries! Like I said, TALENT!
There's not really an easy way for me to review this book without sounding like a huge dummy, so I'm just going to give you a rundown of my favorite elements of the novel and what stood out the most to me. Sounding like a huge dummy all the while. Ahem...
First off, the story: Lauren did a fantastic job creating a world that is so incredibly interesting and terrifying all at once. Not only is love a disease, but it's completely off-limits; illegal even. The government has done everything they can to regulate society--from countless rules and regulations (The Book of Shhh), their harsh punishment system for those who rebel and of course, the procedure--in order to ensure the population is better off without this emotion and will no doubt do whatever it takes to keep anything or anyone from swaying that. The measures they take are brutal and extreme and you can't help but think about how and why these people can feel so insanely threatened by such a basic human feeling. I personally, felt they all needed a little lovin' to lighten them up.
Next, the characters: Lena is one of the most relatable heroines out there. She's your plain, average seventeen year-old girl who can't wait to be cured. Which is understandable because that's all she's ever known because that's all she's ever been told--the cure keeps you from getting hurt and most importantly, it will keep her from becoming like her mother who ended up dead because she resisted it. I'll admit, Lena's a little stubborn at first but once she begins to question the beliefs of everyone around her, you can't help but root for her to ~see the light. Especially when she discovers just how demented her government really is. Hana, Lena's best friend and Gracie, Lena's young cousin were my favorite secondary characters. They were both so strong and the things they each did to subtly rebel were admirable. And they both helped Lena in the most crucial ways and for that, I just wanted to hug both of them really tightly. Finally, my absolute favorite character: Alex. I'll be honest, I like fictional boys. Heck, I like many of them but they don't even begin to compare to this one here. I have quite a few fictional boyfriends but he is my fictional husband. Yeah, he's that great. Not only was he the catalyst that brought Lena to see all that was wrong in their world, but he got her to do what was ultimately forbidden: fall in love. And she wasn't the only one, lemme tell you... This boy quotes poetry (perfect), destroys roofs (hot) and will do whatever it takes to protect Lena (tear!). He's everything you want a love interest to be, but more than that; he's everything a truly good person is. Love love love him!
Lastly, Lauren Oliver's writing: One word to describe it without sounding like the crazy fangirl I told Lauren I was in my crazy fan letter is: Unflinching. (Once you read Delirium's ending you will understand exactly what I mean.) This woman has a way with words, to say the least. She effortlessly weaves an incredible thought-provoking story, creating a world so vivid, you feel like you're in it. And oh, how I wanted to be in it! (Re: Alex) She became one of my absolute favorite authors after I read Before I Fall and secured her position with this book.
Delirium was an amazing, beautifully crafted novel that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page. I can’t praise it enough--it was perfect. This story is not only "just a love story", but a story about life, and how without love, living is rather pointless.
Be sure to catch the delirium February 1, 2011. You won’t regret it.