Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lena Haloway can’t wait to turn 18 to undergo a procedure to be cured of a disease called love.

Hey wait, what? Yeah, in Delirium, love has been identified as a disease, which can be deadly for the infected person. When one is ‘cured’, he or she will be married to someone already matched earlier to them and they will supposedly live together peacefully and lead normal lives without the complications of love or heartbreak.

Lena may be impatient for her turn to receive the cure but she can’t help thinking back of her mother who committed suicide when Lena was still a child. Unlike other parents, her mother was as loving and fun as Lena could remember. Her mother even said those forbidden words – I love you – to her.

Still, Lena thinks the cure is the best thing for her. That is until she meets Alex, the guy with hair like autumn leaves. She never expected to fall in love with him but that’s what happened. She has never felt like this before and the days towards her procedure are passing by quickly. Now that Lena’s up in the clouds of love, she’s not so keen in getting the cure after all.

There’s been a lot of hype around this book and I was glad to download it from the very awesome Netgalley. I read the synopsis and thought ‘Wow, a story where love is a disease? Not bad.’ The beginning was interesting. I liked reading about Lena’s life, her family and friends. The government that runs Portland, where she lives, sounds very familiar like the one in the novel 1984 by George Orwell. There is constant monitoring on the daily activities of the people so there is no complete privacy and less opportunity for funny business.

I did not know what were ‘sympathizers’ and ‘resisters’ but I sort of figured them out as I continued reading. Anyway, there was no extra background on how love was called a disease. And did none of them ever traveled to other countries? Or people from other countries traveling and staying in the United States?

Lena’s relationship with Alex was new and unexplored so it should be exciting. But I wasn’t really pulled in to the story during the chapters on the new lovebirds. I was glued back to the story at the last few chapters though, wondering about their impending fate.

As for the ending, it’s a cliffhanger. There will be a sequel, Pandemonium, and its expected publication is on March 6 next year.

Friday Finds (July 8, 2011)

Friday Finds hosted by Should Be Reading

Did you come across any good books this week? Here’s what I found:

1. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
2. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
3. Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet
4. The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas

Let me know what new books you just got to know about.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Publisher: Penguin Books | 2007 (first published 1911) | 276 pages
Buy on Amazon

Ten-year-old Mary Lennox, who has lived in India all her life, is sent to stay with at her uncle Lord Craven’s Misselthwaite Manor in England when her parents died of a disease. Mary has never had a friend all her life and her parents had never bothered much about her. This makes Mary an obnoxious, sullen little girl who always expects her servants to wait hand and foot on her.

As Mary tries to adapt to the strange new ways in her new home, she improves in physique and character. She passes the time by exploring the gardens and trying to make conversations with an old gardener Ben Weatherstaff. Martha, a young chambermaid, is also the only other person who usually speaks to Mary.

Soon, Mary befriends Martha’s younger brother Dickon who has a way of charming animals around him. She lets him in on a secret that she found out a little earlier. She has discovered a garden which was abandoned for 10 years with the door’s key buried somewhere. By some stroke of luck, she found the key, entered the secret garden and felt that she was in a whole new world. So together with Dickon, they begin to work to bring the garden back to life.

Besides the garden, Mary uncovers another secret in the manor that has a hundred rooms. She stumbles upon her 10-year-old sick cousin Colin one night when she followed the sounds of his crying. From then on, she would visit him every day to talk and play, without them realising that they were making each other better and learning to enjoy their childhood at the same time.

I have watched the 1993 movie version of The Secret Garden when I was a kid and loved it till now. While reading the book, images from the movie would constantly pop into my head and I would compare how the characters were portrayed in both versions.

Descriptions were abundant in the book and it made me a little more knowledgeble about gardens and flowers. I was also a bit puzzled but tickled when I read that Dickon has a funny face. How can a person’s face look funny? But Dickon is a good-natured boy and it would be difficult not to like him.

The book got off to a great start but it slowed down for me halfway. It thankfully got better after three-quarter of the book until the ending. I’m glad that I have finally read the book as I have watched two movie versions of it, and like I mentioned earlier, I really liked the 1993 one starring Kate Maberly.