Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
In Portland, Oregon 2091, a city surrounded by a great fence, love, or amor deliria nervosa, is a dangerous disease that could lead to chaotic misbehavior and even death. When people hit the age of eighteen, they get the surgery that removes the deliria and its effects from the brain and are later given match options for marriage based on their future jobs in the society.
Magdalena (or just Lena) has been looking forward to the surgery for years, because that means no more curfew or gender-restricted activities. When her surgery is postponed by some renegades from the Wilds, Lena meets the guy behind the plot, Alex, and learns there is much more to the deliria than society admits to.
Her mother having succumb to the deliria (killing herself for love), Lena has been singled out and questioned in her totalitarian society as a suspect that may succumb as well, despite her eagerness for the surgery.
When Alex shows her what love really is, Lena begins to question the rules of the society she lives in, and when he offers to show her the Wilds, she is in awe of how people live in the nuked wastelands outside of the city’s fence. Alex prompts that the fence may not necessarily be there to keep people out, but to keep them in.
When Lena learns that her mother may actually still be alive, she aims to find her, but too late; the woman in question has escaped. Now Lena wants to go to the Wilds to find her, with Alex in tow, and to escape from this society that restricts the freedom to love.
Their escape is challenging and thwarted, and the government will do anything to control its people.
This was an interesting young adult dystopian novel in that it takes love, a concept and need that all people succumb to at some point, and removes it from society. People are segregated by gender until they have the surgery. There is evidence of nuclear warfare, which shows that this is one potential outcome that society may fall to if our country resorts to such methods.
The reason why this novel received a slightly lower score from me is because of the pacing. It took me months to read through the first half because it was very slow and the events were not exciting or enticing to the novel and its society. After Lena ventures into the Wilds for the first time, the novel really picks up from there, and the ending leaves the reader itching to read the second book in the series, Pandemonium.
Overall, I would say this is an interesting novel, especially for teens, to read, because it reflects something that many teenagers think about: love. It allows young readers to think critically about their own relationships as well as regulations in society today, making the novel relevant in more than one way.