Audiobook Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #1)


I am a little, okay a lot, late to the Delirium party.

By extension I am also late to the Lauren Oliver party, as well.

I checked out a copy of this book from the Sarah Lawrence College library when it was first released, and I thought that I could read for fun and finish my thesis at the same time.

It didn’t work out and Delirium went back to the school library at the end of the interlibrary loan period.

Now, years later, a friend on Ravelry recommended that I read Before I Fall, also by Lauren Oliver.

I was intrigued but I have a big problem with my bookshelves at the moment. They’re full.

Quite literally my bookshelves are stuffed with books and I cannot find the space for another volume no matter how intrigued I am.

So I hadn’t taken the plunge with Before I Fall, but when Audible had their Editor’s Choice Sale I saw Delirium listed in the young adult section and decided to take a chance.

Delirium tells the story of seventeen-year-old Lena Haloway who is ninety-five days away from having a procedure done that will remove her ability to love.

The United States, recognizes love as a disease called amor deliria nervosa and everyone over the age of eighteen has a procedure done to cure them. They are then matched and paired with a suitable life partner and assigned a number of children to have.

Lauren Oliver creates a very intriguing Orwellian world seen through the eyes of a teenage girl. The effects of the procedure are different on everyone and in most cases they don’t find joy or pleasure in hobbies they once liked as a child. The government interference in this book is frightening and chilling, but through Lena’s eyes she’s happy.

Lena’s a complex character whose mother committed suicide because The Cure wouldn’t work on her. After three procedures, and an impending fourth, Lena’s mother ended her life. Lena is afraid that she is like her mother and the fear colors everything she does.

She looks forward to the procedure. She believes that means she will be safe, but things get complicated when she meets Alex.

Suddenly, she’s not just an “in-between girl” she’s “pretty.” When she has the procedure, that will go away and she will be back to being an “in-between girl.” She doesn’t want to give it up.

After being taught for years that love is something to be feared she starts to think that maybe it’s worth living for after all.

Alex and Lena’s relationship is, at once, adorably  fluffy and heartbreaking. They are star-crossed lovers for a dystopian age.

It’s forbidden, tragic, and avoids lots of the pitfalls that so easy befall teen romance novels. While Lena may sound saccharine at times, exaggerating the way Alex looks, I always felt like that was the point.

Lena is falling in love for the first time. She’s head over heels in love and she doesn’t have a language to describe it.

After I finished reading this, I read some criticism about Lena not being enough of a kick-ass female character like we’ve come to expect with The Hunger Games and Divergent.

As the story progresses, Lena redeems herself by trying to fight for herself. In the past, I’ve criticized main characters who just seem to let the plot happen to them, making no effort to save themselves, but Lena doesn’t do that.

She finds what she wants and the bravery to go after it. It involves making some tough choices but she doesn’t shy away from them.

What really blew me away about the audiobook, was Sarah Drew’s performance. I recognized Sarah Drew’s name from her role as April Kepner in Grey’s Anatomy.

After listening to her performance in Delirium, I have a new appreciation for the depth and variances in Drew’s voice.

Through a jovial tone and nuanced reflection, Drew makes Portland come to life in my earbuds.

Her voices for each characters are distinctive and I can easily tell when Aunt Carol, Hana, Rachel, and Alex are speaking. Even blaring announcements come to life listening to Drew’s voice.

I will admit, the first night I listened to this audiobook, which I devoured in three days, I was up way past my bedtime trying to get the next bit of story. Towards the end, the story was so enthralling that I stayed up too late again trying to finish it.

Drew also narrates the two other books in the trilogy, Pandemonium and Requiem, and I look forward to checking those out in the near future so that I can see how Lena’s story continues.

So, maybe I got here a little late, but the point is I got here! And I am hooked. The one saving grace of my delirium with this series is that all three books have been released and I don’t have to endure the anticipation of waiting.

However, I may not be so lucky when Lauren Oliver releases her next book.


Have you read Delirium? What did you think of this trilogy? What other books by Lauren Oliver do you recommend? 

You can check out the audiobook through Audible or you can find it on Audio CD and iTunes. You can buy the book through your local independent bookseller, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Published by Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser is a fiction writer and essayist. She is an associate editor at Tell-Tale TV, where she writes about all things tv. She has had fiction appear in five : 2 : one magazine’s #thesideshow and her nonfiction has appeared in Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. You can find her talking about tv, film, and knitting on Twitter @LaurenBusser.

11 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #1)

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