Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse 4/30/13
Length: 416 pages
Series: The Program #1
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.
I have seen this book around for a while and always knew that i wanted to read it but not quite sure why i didn’t. quite possibly it was because i had so many others on the list already waiting to be read. In any event, i’m really happy that i finally got the chance to sit down for 2 days to read it since it’s a nice take on how society is evolving in the hopes of fixing what it thinks is an infection.
In this story, we are brought up to speed in a time where teen suicide and depression is at an all time high. we don’t know what the reason for it is, we just know that it’s happening more and more. Towns are trying to find ways to combat this and this has spurned the development of The Program which is a ‘rehabilitation’ of sorts that will wipe out the parts of your mind that cause you to be depressed and the memories associated in the hopes that it will cure you.
At the onset of the story, we meet Sloane, James and Miller – a trio of best friends who are doing what they can to hold and and stay ‘happy’. See, Sloane’s brother (and James’ best friend) brady had committed suicide and they were clinging to each other in a sense to stay alive. Miller is their best friend who was also part of a couple with Lacey, however lacey was ‘infected’ and tried to kill herself as well, and was sent to the Program. This is what starts the story down the rockier path – they have seen that Lacey’s returned, yet she’s not the same lacey at all. See, ‘returners’ aren’t the same as when they go into the program -t hey are tame versions of their former selves, and they don’t have any memories of those around them (aside from what the program wants them to remember) so all efforts to see if she remembers them are left with stress and anxiety.
This tips Miller over the edge and he takes ‘quickdeath’ and kills himself. James and Sloane are left to pick up those pieces. See, the challenge there too is that they are madly in love with each other and therefore will do what ever they need to in order to keep each other safe. the problem is that James is about to crack – sending him to the Program and this leads Sloane down that path as well.
What we get throughout this story is we learn how strong Sloane is and how she fights to hold onto those happier thoughts of how much she loves James. She doesn’t go down without a fight in the Program, and while she’s there, she meets Realm who won’t let her go down without a fight.
Once they have all left the program and ‘returned’ – things don’g quite go as everyone planned. We see that people latch onto those that were in their previous lives, before the cure – and it’s surprising a lot of people. It’s also interesting to see who connects again and who avoids one another.
What i really liked about this first book in the series is that there’s a lot to question but nothing is overtly answered. that’s always one of my pet peeves – we don’t know what’s really going on and what the extent of things are, and this book doesn’t answer all those questions – meaning that you really want to read the next installment.
I also loved the epilogue because i like where it’s going and where we’re being taken with it There’s the perpetual question of who’s on which side, what side is that really – and who’s going to survive. What is the cure really – is it good – is it doing what it’s supposed to and who’s against it (aside from all the teenagers).
I can’t wait for book 2 – i hope you guys enjoy it too!