The Program by Suzanne Young
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.
Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
Publishes in US: April 30th 2013 by Simon Pulse
Genre: YA dystopia
Source: Simon Teen for review
Series? Yes. The Program is the 1st in The Program series.
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Brilliant! I was not expecting it to pack such an emotional punch, but man, did it ever. It is so chilling to think about a teenage epidemic of suicide! My father did it back in October, so I know all too well the ramifications of family and friends left behind. Suzanne did such a good job portraying that.
The twist-- Sloane (the main character) and the other teens in this chilling world are being monitored for any signs of depression so they can't outwardly express their grief. I can only imagine not being able to cry for fear of losing all my memories.
Because that is what happens to the teens who are deemed at risk of suicide. They are sent through the program, and while it erases the depression it also erases all memories from their life before. So, I can't decide which they mourn more, the ones who are gone through suicide or their friends or boy/girl friends that have gone through the program but don't remember them anymore. So sad!
The dynamic of the characters was so well written and layered. Sloane and her boyfriend James used to run around with Lacey (taken into the program) and her boyfriend Miller. But James used to be a close friend of Sloane's brother Brady. So there is so much complex history and emotions driving their interactions.
One of the scenes that really got to me was when Sloane injured herself just so she would be free to cry because she missed her brother who died and her best friend Lacey who just came out of the program and didn't remember Sloane or her boyfriend Miller.
I adored the romance in this one. James and Sloane and their dynamic had me right away. I loved how they looked out for each other and provided the strength for the other when they were falling apart a bit, and glued them right back together. James is devoted and I was swooning all over him. Their teasing, banter, and loyalty had me cheering for them.
Each part of this book hooked me in even more, and made me realize how much I liked Sloane's character. There are new characters that I didn't know whether to trust, and even by the end of the book I have no idea what their angle is on everything, and how this person will play into things in the next part.
I love the line that if it is meant to be, it will happen. The first time I heard it I rolled my eyes, but I love how that is a theme, and the people that show up to prove that right, and things that happen more than once. I know that is vague, but I think that once you read it, you'll understand what I am talking about. It is so hard to review a book like this sometimes because so much happens that I want to talk about but, I also don't want to spoil anything. So I try to talk about what you can figure out from the synopsis or within the first couple of chapters.
The pacing was amazing, and kept me in suspense waiting for the next bit of action, or seeing how the characters are growing. I loved this first book and will definitely be continuing this series.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you chose the program or death?