One of my favorite YA books, and favorite books to booktalk, is The Cure by Sonia Levitin. It’s a powerful combination of dystopia story and historical fiction. This newest (well, new to me, I didn’t realize it had come out) novel is similar to a pretty astonishing degree, however there are some good twists that make this a completely different story with a similar message (future utopias don’t work! homogenous society doesn’t work! individuality is good and precious!).
This story is set in the future and the main character, Will, is fortunate enough to be the offspring of the Supreme Compassionate General. He is being groomed to eventually be the leader as well and relishes the thought, for he loves the adoration he receives and believes deeply in the society he lives in. It doesn’t take the reader long to realize that “Compassionate Removal” is really euthanasia of less “desirable” citizens, i.e. mentally or physically disabled people and that other supposed advances in society are somewhat horrifying. Like in many dystopia novels (The Giver) children are not born out of love, nor initially raised by parents. Instead they come from a lab and in this particular future parents select the traits they want in a child. If an embryo is determined to not have all the correct assets desired it is simply discarded.
As part of Will’s training he is sent out into the colonies to see what life is like in the towns that are not quite as advanced as his. Traveling with him is his new friend, Leora. An accident forces them to stay in Leora’s hometown for a couple of weeks and it is there that Will experiences food actually grown from the ground, witness familial love, fully comprehends Compassionate Removal, and make a shocking and horrifying discovery about his own self which will change the fate of the world. By the way, this shocking and horrifying discovery was a total surprise to me. However, when I started to tell the story to my husband he easily guessed it. So either I am a naive reader or it’s simply less obvious as you’re reading along. Either way, it’s great. I can’t get enough of books with these themes. I could see many a lively debate occurring through book discussions about this book, and I’d be curious to know some of the author’s personal beliefs. A fantastic read!