I thought the author did a great job of portraying the differences in personalities and the fact that some people are happy just accepting what is happening in their life, while other people need something more, whatever that may be.
Our main character, Mary is at the age where she has to marry, but she doesn't want that. Well she does, but the person she wants she doesn't think wants her. So she takes on his brother who has always loved her. They live in a town surrounded by a gate to keep out the unconsecrated. Mary ends up in the sisterhood and meets a girl from another town, which is unheard of. People don't pass the gates. This girl ends up infected and the town falls. So Mary, her betrothed and his brother, her friend, her brother and his wife, and a small child all pass through the gate in search of others and a new town. The story goes from there. Where you get to see each personality and the fears they have.
I really enjoyed the story, I would like to think if I was in that situation I'd want to see the ocean as well.