Published on October 3, 2017
About The Delusion
By March of Owen Edmonds’s senior year, eleven students at Masonville High School have committed suicide. Amid the media frenzy and chaos, Owen tries to remain levelheaded–until he endures his own near-death experience and wakes to a distressing new reality.
The people around him suddenly appear to be shackled and enslaved.
Owen frantically seeks a cure for what he thinks are crazed hallucinations, but his delusions become even more sinister. An army of hideous, towering beings, unseen by anyone but Owen, are preying on his girlfriend and classmates, provoking them to self-destruction.
Owen eventually arrives at a mind-bending conclusion: he’s not imagining the evil–everyone else is blind to its reality. He must warn and rescue those he loves . . . but this proves to be no simple mission. Will he be able to convince anyone to believe him before it’s too late?
Owen’s heart-pounding journey through truth and delusion will force him to reconsider everything he believes. He both longs for and fears the answers to questions that are quickly becoming too dangerous to ignore.
One of the reasons I’ve moved away from calling this blog a Christian blog is that there really aren’t a ton of Christian YA titles (and there shouldn’t be a great need for a content breakdown on Christian books, as I would think they would be clean, but that’s another conversation for another time.). It’s still important to me to review the Christian titles I come across, and as is the case with this one, I find don’t necessarily agree with the worldview in them. I’ll talk about this more under the Spiritual Content breakdown below.
In terms of the story, though, I thought the premise—a boy suddenly able to see into a spiritual world has to decide what to do or how to fight spiritual battles—was very cool. I’m not a fan of narrators who come across like they think they’re smarter than everyone else, even though I know this is a pretty popular young adult theme. So I found it hard to like Owen because he just seemed to me like he thought he was better than everyone else (partly because he saw them with chains around their necks and he had none).
I guess that sums up my feelings about the whole book, actually. The idea is very cool, but I had too many issues with other elements of the story.
Major characters are white or not physically described.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
A couple references to swearing (no profanity shown in text).
Some references to sex. For instance, Owen thinks about how nice it would be to have a girl on top of him. He also thinks about kissing a girl. He kisses a girl on the cheek.
A teenage girl is pregnant.
Owen drinks water from a strange well and then begins to see spiritual beings he refers to as Creepers and Watchmen. Creepers, dark, vile creatures, attach themselves to humans using chains only Owen sees. Watchmen, beings of light, are able to chase Creepers away. Some other people don’t have chains, but instead emanate light themselves, which the Creepers avoid.
Though he isn’t a Christian himself, Owen’s visions serve as a view into a spiritual realm. He wrestles with anger at how freely the Creepers move about, harming people, and even at one point believes they must be God’s servants since He’s not stopping them. He meets a Christian girl who gives him a little perspective on what’s happening, but Owen mostly explores what he believes on his own.
Near the beginning of the story, the man who introduces Owen to the well tells Owen that suicide never happens unprovoked. To be honest, I found this implication that depression/suicide attempts or ideation are always caused by some sort of demonic presence troubling. I do believe there are spiritual happenings around us, and certainly some of our struggles arise from them. But I think characterizing mental health issues as always having a demonic root cause grossly oversimplifies a complex issue and ignores the existence of mental health problems as a biological or biochemical issue. I don’t think it’s a good idea, especially in literature aimed at teens, to have this blanket position that all suicide attempts are caused by demons. Where does that leave us with issues requiring medication or counseling? I’m just really uncomfortable with the position the book takes on this topic, and to be really frank, I’m disappointed in that it’s been chosen as a Christy Award winning title.
Some references to teen suicide. Several scenes show teens intending to commit suicide. One shows a girl dying following an overdose. Demons rip her spirit from her body. One scene shows several teens being shot with a rifle.
If you’re struggling with depression, I wouldn’t recommend reading this book as some of these scenes have some graphic descriptions and may be triggering for some readers.