|January 1, 2011|
Delirium is a dystopian young adult novel written by Lauren Oliver, published on January 1, 2011, by HarperCollins (HarperTeen), about a young girl, Lena Haloway, who falls in love in a society where love is seen as a disease. The novel is the first part of a trilogy, followed by Pandemonium.
The story is set in Portland, Maine, in the year 2091. Civilization is concentrated in those cities which escaped the severe bombings of decades past. Travel between cities is highly restricted. Electric fences separate the city from the Wilds--unregulated territory which was presumably mostly destroyed by bombs.
The totalitarian government teaches that love is a disease, named Amor deliria nervosa, commonly referred to as "the deliria". A surgical cure for the deliria has been developed and is mandatory for citizens 18 years old and over. Lena has looked forward to the procedure for years, convinced as she is by the government that love is a horrible disease that must be destroyed from mankind's system. Lena is an orphan, living with her aunt, uncle and her 2 cousins. Lena has a sister, who was 'cured' and married.
Lena's best friend, Hana, is prettier, more popular and richer than Lena. While Lena is obedient, stays home after curfew and listens to DFA approved music, Hana is rebellious and goes to underground parties after curfew and listens to music that is banned by the DFA
However, mere months before her scheduled procedure, Lena falls in love with an Invalid (a person who has not taken the Cure and lives in the Wilds) named Alex. He was born in the Wilds outside the city, and pretends to be cured in order to live undetected in the city and partake in the resistance. He offers Lena the means of escape from the procedure that will destroy her ability to love. While trying to gain Lena's love, he finds out about her past life and family. When she mentions her "dead" mother and how she always kept a specific necklace with her, he knew who she was. Alex wanted to show Lena that her mother was alive. He brings her to the Crypts (a place where people who have not obeyed the rules stay) to show her that her mother was still alive. When they find the room where her Mother is, they find it empty, with a life-size hole in the wall where the letter 'O' was, in the word LOVE.
Ever since then, Lena thought that her whole childhood was a lie and wanted to leave the city and go to the Wilds. While Lena and Alex were trying to escape to the Wilds, Lena made it over the fence, but Alex got shot before he was able to, and he doesn't make it. Lena leaves the city and starts living in the Wilds, joining the rebels who oppose the procedure and the government.
Lauren Oliver says that the inspiration for Delirium came to her one day at the gym. She had recently read a Gabriel Garcia Márquez essay where he said that all books were about either love or death. Since her first book, Before I Fall was about death, she wanted to write a book about love. At the gym she was watching a news report about a pandemic, and the two ideas combined in her head to form the central concept of the Delirium books.
Delirium is the first installment of a trilogy. Two books set between the first and second books, Hana and Annabel, were released on February 28 and December 26, 2012 respectively. The second book, Pandemonium, was released on February 28, 2012. The third and final book in the trilogy, Requiem, was released on March 5, 2013. Another book, set between the second and third books of the trilogy, Raven, was also released March 5, 2013.
The intermediate books were compiled into one book, Delirium Stories subtitled Hana, Annabel, and Raven, released the same date. Alex, also between the first and second books, was released with the first edition of the final book in the trilogy, Requiem.
Fox ordered a television pilot based on Delirium. According to The Hollywood Reporter actress Emma Roberts was cast as Lena Haloway, the main role. In February 2013, Gregg Sulkin was cast as the role of Julian Fineman, one of Lena's love interests, but was changed to be the love interest of her best friend Hana Tate for the show. On February 25, 2013 Daren Kagasoff was cast as Alex Sheathes, the male lead and Lena's love interest. Karyn Usher penned the pilot, with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope as executive producers. On March 1, 2013, Jeanine Mason was cast as Hana Tate. Fox later declined to pick up the pilot.
Delirium was a New York Times bestseller. It was released to largely positive reviews, including starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and the School Library Journal. NPR wrote, "Oliver writes beautifully, with well-measured mastery. The references to The Book of Shhh and The Safety, Health and Happiness Handbook, 12th edition, are exquisitely artful touches."