This subgenre of bleak-revolutionary dystopian romance has become so popular that it has spawned hundreds of copycat stories of doomed romances. Books like Delirium love to see how far they can go before a reader screams “Enough!” and slams the book shut, and Delirium is no exception.
As a result, there is a delicate balancing act. However, there are many books that are comparable to Delirium if you dig the idea of people still falling in love after a catastrophic event like a nuclear war.
Books like Delirium
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
In books like Delirium, the reader is thrown into a maze of twists and turns where you’re never quite sure which path to follow. The ‘unreliable narrator’ voice is well-used in We Were Liars.
When you read the first page, you immediately get the feeling that something is wrong.
Cadence introduces us to the ‘Liars,’ a tight-knit family of cousins and friends. A shattered memory triggered by an accident is helping Cadence tell their story to us, but she can’t remember everything about it.
There is a strange mix of melancholy and hope at the end of the story as the truth is gradually revealed.
Is this book familiar to you? See our selection of titles that are similar to We Were Liars.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary Pearson
The Adoration of Jenna Fox is another book that has a similar title to Delirium. What is the name of Jenna Fox’s character? Even Jenna Fox doesn’t know the answer. Her identity and the fact that she was in an accident one year ago are given to 17-year-old Jenna when she wakes up. As far as I know, it’s all there is.
After waking up in a world where everything has changed and her own memories are hazy, Jenna sets out in search of the truth.
While the characters of Lily and Ethan add some romance to Jenna’s search, the main focus of the story is on Jenna’s eventual discovery of who she is and why she lost her memory. If you liked Delirium, you’ll appreciate this book.
All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders
Inexplicable events separate two friends in high school, one a witch, the other a lunatic scientist. I was compelled to continue reading after reading the first paragraph. As with Delirium, there are a slew of books like All the Birds in the Sky that thrive on all three of these elements at once. In this story, Patricia and Laurence are our witch and scientist.
It is as if somebody is trying to bring them all back together to either rescue the world or destroy it as adults, yet we first see them as teenagers in school. Fantasy, science fiction, and even magical realism are all present and correct in this work, making it difficult to pin down a certain genre for it.
It’s all about the questions you’re forced to ask yourself and the world around you. Is our fate sealed? What if nature kills us before we can kill it? Is there a middle ground where we can meet nature? See if you can come up with your own answers after reading this book.
Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon
If you’re a fan of books like Delirium, Everything, Everything is a must-read.
As a teenager, Madeline’s disability has kept her confined to her home for the majority of her life. Madeline has a severe allergy to practically everything in existence. There is no way out of the cocoon she has built around herself. When Olly moves in next door, Madeline realizes she’s been losing out on things she never knew she needed.
If you don’t mind the cheesy romance, Everything, Everything is an enjoyable read even if you know what’s going to happen before it does. The story’s twist has sparked some debate, but the only way to know for sure is to read it and make your own judgments without relying on what other people have to say on Goodreads.
No, I haven’t read it yet. If you enjoyed Everything, Everything, you’ll love these books.
Partials, by Dan Wells
Writing Excuses co-host Dan Wells first came to my attention as one of the witty and sarcastic co-hosts (an essential podcast-listen for any writer). There are several instances in his books when you can see him using the same kind of dry wit and satire that you see him use in his talks. There is no difference between partials and fulls.
Books like Delirium are full of gloom and dystopian struggle, but the world of Partials has a palpable sense of impending dread and catastrophe. Following a conflict, bio-engineered humans resembling us have wiped us off. The survivors have collected on Long Island, where they are frightened and in a state of limbo.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old high school student, is here to help. As for her remedy, she suggests looking into the ‘partials,’ or bioengineered beings. A friend recommended this book to me, so I decided to give it a try. He thought I’d love this because we’re both big fans of the ’00s version of Battlestar Galactica. He was absolutely correct in his assessment. If you like it, I bet you will too.
Birthmarked, by Caragh O’Brien
A society divided into upper- and lower-class members is the subject of yet another tale. This isn’t to say that Birthmarked is a bad story because it relies heavily on an overused cliche. It’s critical to read books like Birthmarked to avoid the emergence of cultures like these.
Gaia, a sixteen-year-old who draws inspiration from books like The Handmaid’s Tale and George Orwell’s 1984, is a young woman whose sole purpose in life is to deliver babies for the wealthy Enclave. To do so, she takes it quite seriously. Until the people they all serve without doubt arrest her mother and father. Perhaps not the most unique story, but Birthmarked manages to entice and remind us that we are all just one step away from a life of cruelty.
1984, by George Orwell
The original dystopian novel (along with a few others). It’s a delicate balancing act for books like Delirium to keep the reader hopeful while yet delivering a harsh reality. The year is 1984, and the world is full of romance and a burning desire to right the wrongs of the past. A hopeful ending is absent from 1984, unlike the Delirium trilogy. Unlike many dystopian romance books, Winston and Julia do not receive the battered but happy-in-the-end promised.
Instead, Big Brother has created a cult around himself, and 1984 takes the reader on a harrowing tour through the totalitarian world he rules. The many ministries keep track of everything you do. Every word you utter will be taken into consideration. Big Brother’s ‘benevolent’ gaze follows you wherever you go. So many works have attempted to reproduce the gloomy and sad world of 1984, which has inspired so many others. It is only in Orwell’s works that the banality of evil has been captured so perfectly. This dystopian tale is a classic, are you a fan? Here’s a list of books that are similar to 1984.
Vox, by Christina Dalcher
If you’ve been battered down by 1984, Vox might give you a new lease on life. It takes a lot of effort to get the reader invested enough in a book like Delirium to dislike the villains and root for the heroes. Doctor Jean McClellan is denied the permission to speak in Vox, a cleverly staged moment. Women in the former United States will be limited to speaking no more than 100 words each day in the not-so-distant future. The wrist-worn electronic counters they are required to wear are used to monitor this. Excruciating pain and fear are vividly conveyed by Dalcher.
Women are still considered as second-class people in our society, and Vox is a window into that reality for us. Take a look at the gender wage difference if you believe men and women are equal. A look at the number of women who are continuously concerned about being sexually assaulted by a male will tell you that this is a serious problem. It’s shocking to see how evil and morally disgusting it is to treat another human being like a property. The plot is gripping and suspenseful. In spite of their flaws, the characters in this novel are easy to identify with. Vox, on the other hand, provides a glimmer of optimism that we can improve.
A multitude of grim futures, such as those shown in Delirium, can be seen through a distorted lens. In spite of their romantic and adventurous covers, books serve as a reminder that they are one of the best ways to communicate honestly with one another without shouting. This is why it is so vital to read and tell stories. It’s a means for all of us to stay in touch and be alerted to both old and new threats.