This unforgettable exploration of what it means to be human starts in a futuristic, utopian society where all unhappiness, suffering, and conflict has been eradicated with the wiping out of all differences between individuals. Gemm 16884, however, dares to be different, and is relegated to undergo the Cure. Virtually transported to living the life of a young Jew during the Holocaust, it is now up to Gemm to decide whether the elimination of all pain was worth the destruction of things such as love.

The presentation of what it would mean to erase all the negative things in this world was extremely thought provoking, and the entire novel was compelling. At first I found myself wishing our society could be just like theirs – without a single drop of unhappiness for anyone. Then, I was sucked into Johannes’ (Gemm) passionate love during a struggle for life, and was happy to end this gripping, suspenseful read feeling better about what we do have.

This was recommended to me by a history teacher at the school I used to attend, who assigns this book just for the large middle section (fictitious firsthand experience of the Holocaust), so historical fiction buffs will be pleased to know that it’s that accurate. The middle section is a complete plot of its own. As someone with a hunger for fast-paced storylines and a shorter-than-average attention span, this middle section at times moved a tad slow for me, but it was well worth sticking it through to find out how this riveting historical experience would affect someone from a perfect society – and the choices he’d make upon his return.

I would recommend this to everyone who enjoys a four-star plot, five-star exploration of society and existence of evil, and even those who are just attracted to the historical suspense story in this time period, which is not interrupted but the overarching plot.