This book is so beautifully written and is such a powerful story that I am giving it 5 stars. (I have to revisit my 4 and 5 star books and decide what a 5 star review really means to me.) The reason I'm rating it so highly is because of the gift of the author to create phrases that echo in my mind, the intelligence of the prose, the descriptions that are fresh and new, and the depth to which I came to care for the characters. Oddly, It is a love story -- something I usually never read but am so glad I did. Also, although it appears to be a young adult book it is actually geared to all ages and is timeless.
Lena lives in Portland Maine sometime in the future when love is considered a disease and everyone is required to have surgery at 18 to "cure" them. Before 18 the body is not able to recover from the operation and the sexes are segregated with contact between the "uncureds" limited and supervised. Once they are cured they are married to a partner who has been chosen for them and they live orderly, calm, productive, and "happy" lives. Everyone studies about the Blitz when all of the people who refused the surgery are sanitized. It is the final summer before Lena turns 18 and her best friend Hana is determined to have one last irresponsible fling. Lena is not sure she wants to join Hana -- in fact, she can hardly wait for the cure. She has grown up under a cloud of suspicion and dislike because her mother was unable to be cured and eventually committed suicide. She counts down the days until she will be normal -- into this carefully planned life walks Alex.