Delirium by Lauren Oliver (NY: Harper, 2011).
Magdalena is counting the days till she has the procedure that will protect her forever from contracting the dreaded amor deliria nervosa. She knows it can kill people--her own mother proved incurable and actually committed suicide rather than submit to another attempt to alter her resistant brain. Lena's older sister tells her that the procedure will make all her days easy, an endless stream of calm with a suitable mate selected just for her. Still, Lena is nervous about the evaluation that comes a few months before the actual procedure. Her best friend Hana claims to not be worried, but even she makes a cryptic remark about knowing happiness right before they enter the laboratory. Maybe it's that comment or just the atmosphere, or her own doubts about what she might have inherited from her mother, but Lena stumbles during the evaluation, giving answers she knows will give her a low mark. Then there's an interruption...the rebels living in the Wilds outside the city have somehow herded cows into the facility, and Lena catches a glimpse of a boy with hair the color of autumn leaves who winks at her from the observation deck above the evaluation room as the mayhem ensues. Lena's remarks may go unrecorded since she'll have to retake the evaluation, but she thinks the boy may have heard what she said.
He's also seen her before, when she and Hana run through the streets. Suddenly Lena is doing things she never would have dreamed of doing in the past. She and Hana break into the grounds of the lab, trying to see how the cows got in. The boy, Alex, is a guard there and Lena again feels a tug of attraction to him. Their romance, played out against the precepts of this dystopian society that has essentially outlawed love, develops with all the delicious intensity of the forbidden. Although you know this can't end well, you will still cry at the end.
Awesome read, especially for fans of Westerfeld's Uglies series and Collins's Hunger Games trilogy. Sexual situations. Ages 13 & up.
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