My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What would you do if love was a disease? A dangerous thing to be eradicated. The fluttery, nervous feeling in your stomach or overwhelming sensation of warmth just a precursor to death. The final stage of deliria, or succumbing to the deadly disease of love.
Lena is born to a world that believes this. People are cured on their eighteenth birthdays to live a contented, unemotional (but not emotionless) life. Parents don’t console their children when they are hurt and kisses are just curt transactions.
Prior to your birthday you are evaluated and matched with four to five possible future husbands. Once ranked, you are paired and will marry after you graduate from University. That is the only pseudo-choice you are given over your own life. Even your University and major are chosen for you.
Lena is afraid. She’s afraid to break rules, afraid to even think the wrong thoughts. Sure that those in charge will find out and take her away. That is why when her best friend starts to question, to wonder if the cure is happiness, to explore and to listen to music banned by the government – Lena’s world is turned upside down. Through Hana and some trespassing, she meets 19-year-old Alex.
Alex introduces Lena to things she never even knew she wanted. Time ticks down to Lena’s cure and she realized that she might not want it anymore. but that’s not a choice she is given. The cure is mandatory, so what is she going to do?
The world we are introduced to is much like our own, yet it is a world changed by deliria. The government taps people’s phones, regulators and police perform raids during which all rights are forfeit, and your life is chosen for you. The world-building is wonderfully done, allowing us a look into this strangely familiar world through the eyes’ of Lena. There are short quotes at the beginning of each chapter that illustrates some of the rules, propaganda, cautionary tales and banned literature that Lena would be familiar with. It gives the novel an extra level of depth that benefits it greatly.
The characters in the novel are varied and realistic. Lena is a normal, ordinary girl – or at least that’s the way she thinks of herself, but she makes courageous extraordinary choices. Where will her heart take her? Hana, her best friend is rich and beautiful but she wonders if there’s something more. Will she give up her contented life or take the cure? Alex is from another world and different ideals shape his thoughts. Will he alter the girls’ perception of their government and lives, or will they choose the cure?
Wonderfully well-written novel that I highly recommend to young adult/teen readers even if they don’t normally read dystopian style novels. There are only one or two instances of a curse word being used and no inappropriate scenes detailed. This is a very enjoyable read that will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning.