"Delirium" by Lauren Oliver

I wanted to review this book sooner, but decided to wait until I'd seen the final dust jacket in person. Granted, my own personal copy is coming in the mail later this week since I pre-ordered online, so I have no pictures to show you. The image on the left doesn't look fantastic. In person, however, the cover is absolutely lovely. The blue color is really a little darker and very metallic/shiny. The picture on the left looks like a cut-out revealing the model's face, but the final edition has the letters raised and embossed with the same image revealed when readers slip off the jacket. Down the side, the title was re-created in beautiful shades of blue and the fancy script you get a glimpse of on the front cover can be found highlighting important words on both the back cover and inside flap of the book. I almost decided to wait on reviewing this book until I could show you the final cover...but I just couldn't because I NEED to tell you how amazing this novel is.

Delirium takes place in a world where love is considered a disease called amor deliria nervosa. When Lena, the novel's protagonist, was younger, her mother killed herself because she had been infected with the disease. Upon turning eighteen, all citizens are required to have an operation that removes a person's ability to love from their brains, successfully "curing" them. Lena can't wait for her birthday, which is right around the corner. All her life, people have worried that she was more susceptible to the disease because of her mother and she's desperate to prove them wrong. Everything changes the day she meets Alex. Their relationship resembles that of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet as Lena begins experiencing signs of the deliria and realizes that there is more to life than what the government allows.

Oliver is a strong writer who vividly builds a frightening future for her characters. Scenes are emotionally-charged in such a way, readers can't help becoming invested in what will happen. The characters are fully fleshed out and their interaction with one another feels natural. Danger lurks on each page, leaving me breathless as I hurried on to find out what happens next. I was so caught up in Lena's story that the ending hit me hard, leaving me salivating while awaiting the next two books in the trilogy. This society is incredibly constricting, and I need to know what will happen to these characters I've grown to love.

Delirium stands on its own when compared to other Dystopian novels. It's not quite like anything else out there. It's centered around love the way last year's Matched by Ally Condie was, but delves deeper and has an entirely different approach to the subject. While there are some brutal scenes, it's not gritty in the way The Hunger Games is. At the same time, fans of both these series and many others will enjoy Delirium. In my opinion, it's one of the best entries in the genre and a gorgeous novel that I think will be a runaway bestseller.

[Review based on ARC edition]

[This entry is part of Bookish Ardour's Reading Challenges' Dystopian Challenge of 2011. See how I've done so far here.]

[This entry is part of Presenting Lenore's celebration of Dystopian February. See what Dystopian novels I've read in February here.]