There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.
Then, at last, they found the cure.
Now, everything is different. Scientist are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable...
I've had my eye on this for quite some time but never had a chance to pick it up. A world where love was seen as a disease, something to treated, something whose symptoms were getting in the way of normal life, was fascinating. And I think Oliver portrayed this quite well, from the rules and regulations of inter-gender mingling to the effects of the cure. I especially liked how Lena wanted the cure; with something like this, you'd expect the heroine to be a rebel but it was only after she fell in love that Lena realised the implications of the way society ran things.
I really liked Lena. She wasn't the typical dystopian heroine, definitely not used to risking everything but she was sweet and had a horrible life before Alex, and that's why she wanted the cure. She saw it as a way out, a way to never feel things like heartbreak as her mother did. Lena was a little annoying at first, naive and completely susceptible to the big-wig's way of running things, but after Alex, she sees the world differently and realises that love isn't a disease, it's about having utter faith in someone else and letting yourself enjoy the moment.
Now, I have to mention the ending, but I wouldn't dare spoil it. The last few chapters wrenched at my heart and boy, I cried! Lena and Alex's love story was slow-burning but completely true and I adored watching them learn to trust someone so different to what they were used to. With what happened at the very end, I'm tempted to leave this as a stand alone. I do really want to know what happens with one particular person but I was also looking forward to Lena's happily-ever-after, which can't happen now.
Published 3rd February 2011 by Hodder and Stoughton.