Delirium (Lauren Oliver novel)

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Delirium novel.jpg
Author Lauren Oliver
Country United States
Language English
Series Delirium trilogy
Genre Young adult
Science fiction
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication date
January 1, 2011
Media type Print (hardback)
Pages 383
Followed by Pandemonium

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 an alternate present. 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.

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 has pretended to be cured in order to live undetected in the city and be 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 then came and wanted to show Lena that her mother was still alive. So he brings her to the Crypts (place where people who have not obeyed the rules stay) to show her that her mother was still alive. When they go and get to 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 has thought that her whole childhood was a lie and wanted to leave. The two of them would leave the city and live in the Wilds, joining the rebels who oppose the procedure and the government. Although Lena struggles with the thought of leaving her life behind, she ultimately decides to go just seven days before her procedure.


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.[1]


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 has ordered a television pilot based on Delirium.[2] According to The Hollywood Reporter actress Emma Roberts was cast as Lena Haloway, the main role.[3] 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.[4] On March 1, 2013, Jeanine Mason was cast as Hana Tate.[5] Fox later declined to pick up the pilot.[6]

The pilot episode was picked up by Hulu and was available to stream for a limited time beginning on June 20, 2014.[7]


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.[8] 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."[9]


  1. ^ "Lauren Oliver, author of DELIRIUM". Youtube. 
  2. ^ Oliver, Lauren (January 23, 2013). "ANNOUNCING THE DELIRIUM TV SERIES!". Tumblr. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 7, 2013). "Emma Roberts to Star in Fox Drama 'Delirium'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ Webb Mitovitch, Matt (January 22, 2013). "Pilot News: Fox's Drama Orders Include Greg Kinnear's Rake, Modern Sleepy Hollow, Delirium". TVLine. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  5. ^ Ng, Philiana (March 1, 2013). "'So You Think You Can Dance' Winner to Co-Star in Fox's 'Delirium'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver". Kirkusreviews. 
  9. ^ Baggot, Julianna. "Hooray For YA: Teen Novels For Readers Of All Ages". NPR. 

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