Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Lena and her friends and family live in a world where love is a disease--amor delirium nervosa--and when you turn eighteen you are required to have the cure so you are no longer are at risk of contracting this deadly disease. Lena was looking forward to the cure once she turned eighteen because she believed that her mother committed suicide as a result of amor delirium nervosa. But, as anybody knows, in the life of a teenager things are rarely going to go along as they should.
Things start gradually changing during her interview to determine what she would do and who she would be paired with after her cure--she changes the answers she's been prepping with for ages and she also spies a young man in the observation booth watching and listening to what she says. Her views on life and the cure continue morphing when her best friend, Hana, becomes interested in finding hidden locations where "underground" bands are playing and she ends up tagging along. Lena and Hana later come across the young man she spied watching her interview, Alex, on one of their runs. After a few more coincidental run-ins and Alex saving Lena from being captured during a raid her eyes are really opened to what it means to be cured and to follow along with the status quo of living, working and not loving. Knowing Alex, who turns out not to be who (and what) Lena thought him to be, she learns more about what is forbidden by her government, what she has been (and will be) missing out on by blindly following the dictates of her society and, maybe, that she wasn't told the truth about what happened to her mother as a result of amor deliria nervosa.
Of the several series out about dystopian worlds where love is a disease or some such similar plotline I thought this one was well done and Lauren Oliver does have a way with words. I'm sure a lot of it had to do with the fact that I really enjoyed the audiobook narrator and she did a good job of portraying Lena's emotions and thoughts.
While listening to this book I was comparing it to Ally Condie's Matched quite a bit. It seemed like a similar concept of having your partner and your life picked out for you at a certain age by the "government" (each one of these dystopian books seems to have a different moniker for the powers that be and, you know, it's really hard to keep them all straight--I think somebody should come out with a primer). Anyway, I found that Lena realized the wrongness of what was going on in her society a lot sooner than Cassia did and it allowed for, I thought, more chances and experiences for Lena to learn how she truly felt about the world she lived in and what she ultimately wanted out of her life. Even though there were several similarities between Matched and Delirium I didn't really think them through until after I had finished listening to the book. I was caught up in the drama of the reading and the story of Lena and the society she lived in.
Oh, and my very favorite part during the book? That's when a herd of cattle stampede through the interview room where Lena is giving her responses to the questions that will decide her future (and where Alex is suspiciously listening in). When does that ever happen?
The story was intriguing and the ending left it so I would want to continue on with the series to see what happens to Lena, Alex and her mom(?).