The book Delirium by Lauren Oliver is the first out of three books. The first book
is about a young girl, Lena Haloway, living in a world that has classified love as
a disease – a sickness – that makes people do terrible, horrible things. Love
kills; it starts wars, gets husbands to kill wives, makes others take their own
lives. Love is a vicious, painful, beautiful emotion – and the world no longer
wants. Soon after love was classified as a disease, a cure for it was created. A
cure that meant you no longer felt love or joy, for anyone or anything. A cure
that meant your entire life was decided for you – your education, job, spouse,
and the number of kids that you would have. This world believes that once these
choices have been taken from you, you are free. Lena is amongst one of the
many people in this world that believes in this, that looks forward to the cure,
and according to her, once she is cured she will be “happy and safe forever”
(Oliver 2011). However, on the day of her evaluation (the test that everyone
goes through to determine everything about her future) everything changes.
The Invalids (the people who have not had the cure) decide to pull a prank and
release some cows into the evaluation room. As Lena moves out of the way, a
handsome boy catches her eye, Alex. At first, she believes him to be cured;
however, as they spend more time together, she finds out that he isn’t cured.
They try to stay away from him, but they cannot deny their feelings for each
With Alex, she learns how to love, and she learns that love shouldn’t be feared.
Just before Lena is meant to receive the cure, she and Alex attempt to escape
to the Wilds – a place outside of society where people can live freely. However,
as they are climbing the border fence, Alex is shot and taken away. Lena
manages to escape into the Wilds – lost, confused, heartbroken; with no friends
and no Alex to help her. Perhaps, love isn’t so beautiful after all?