Review: The Complication (The Program #6) by Suzanne Young

Title: The Complication
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year:  Simon Pulse 4/24/18
Length:   324 Pages
Series:  The Program #6

Overview

Every cure has a cost.

Tatum Masterson learned this after years of being monitored by The Program. She witnessed it when her boyfriend, Wes, came back changed, erased. And now, even the newest “cure” has a heavy cost—one she and Wes paid.

The Adjustment came into Tatum’s life just when she thought she needed it most, a promise for Wes to get back his forgotten memories. But when the procedure went wrong, a revelation shattered everything Tatum thought she knew.

Now, with no one left to trust, Tatum must find out what really happened last summer. And with the help of the boyfriend she lost, Tatum will have to dig into the past and future of The Program and its handlers.

And discover the true cost of a cure.

My Thoughts

I”ve been on the journey with this series for quite a long time and seeing how our author Ms Young is able to weave the stories of the different couples at the varying stages in the program, while also making sure to continue the thread throughout that keeps them all continuous, constant, and concurrent is impressive.  We’ve seen so much pain and heart ache, so much trickery and lying, and some of our favorite characters will forever be on the run so that they can have their happy endings.  So it’s time to see not only how things end up for Tatum and Wes now that a huge bomb has been dropped on Tatum’s reality, but we also get to see how things continue and potentially end for The Program, for Realm and for a few others.

I think that it’s hard sometimes to get a good YA series that isn’t only on the surface a lot of the time.  That goes a bit deeper for several relationships and story lines, as well as gives us the romance, the aspiration that you know is needed in the genre.  We get that here.

Tatum’s world was blown up when she learned at the end of The Adjustment that her life isn’t at all what she thought.  that she went through The Program.  She now has absolutely no idea what’s real, what’s been taken and what’s been implanted and who’s been lying to her, her entire life.  It’s a crazy roller coaster story that we get here coming to terms with everything.  When we fear that handlers are all around them, i have to admit that i guessed who a few were.   When we worry that some of the authority figures and family members are on the right or wrong side, more often than not, i’m wrong.

The constant though which we saw in the other installments is that while the program was able to erase memories, it’s often unsuccessful in erasing what the heart feels and believes, and we see over and over again that the romances, the loves between these couples really continues to come through.

Throughout this installment, we’re taken back to Dr Warren who is Tatum’s therapist and who we learn has her own motives.  We are back at the Adjustment office and what we see and learn there turns the world upside down.  We’re introduced to new ‘legitimate’ folks who really do play a key role as the story comes to a finale.  We see lives ruined and lives brought back together.  The biggest question of all, is the Program dead once and for all?  i know that we believed that it was before, but i don’t know that we’ll ever learn the truth there.

I’m kind of sad to think that perhaps this is the last installment because of the events that happened at the end, i’ve been really engaged with all characters here.  Realm while cocky really intrigued me.  Sloane/James, Tatum/Wes, Realm/Dallas, Nicole/deacon….there are so many story lines that we got to follow and enjoy that now without them it’ll be sad.  Oh well – that’s the life of a reader right?  on that note, i hope you all enjoy the rest of your day!

Review: The Adjustment (The Program #3) by Suzanne Young

Title: The Adjustment
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse 4/18/17
Length:   416 Pages
Series:  The Program #3

Overview

How do you go back to a life you can’t remember? Find out in this follow up to the New York Times bestselling The Program and The Treatment.

Tatum Masterson never went through The Program. She never had her memory stripped, never had to fight to remain herself. But when Weston, her longtime boyfriend and love of her life, was taken by handlers, she hoped he’d remember her somehow—that their love would be strong enough.

It wasn’t.

Like all returners, Weston came back a blank canvas. The years he and Tatum spent together were forgotten, as well as the week when he mysteriously disappeared before The Program came for him.

Regardless of his memory loss, Tatum fights to get Weston to remember her. And just as they start to build a new love, they hear about the Adjustment—a new therapy that implants memories from a donor. Despite the risks, Tatum and Weston agree to go through the process. Tatum donates her memories from their time together.

But the problem with memories is that they are all a matter of perspective. So although Weston can now remember dating Tatum, his emotions don’t match the experiences. And this discrepancy is slowly starting to unravel him, worse than anything The Program could have done.

And as the truth of their life together becomes clear, Tatum will have to decide if she loves Weston enough to let him go, or to continue to live the lie they’d build together.

Prepare for your Adjustment.

My Thoughts

It’s been quite some time since i’ve been in this series and i have to say that it’s come back with vengeance.  I couldn’t be happier with where this story has taken us.  We’ve gone through The Program with several characters, we’ve read about their backstories.  We’ve spent time with those who are brought into the mix to help families adjust.  And still, there’s so much further that this story can be taken.

In this next installment, we are at a point of time in Portland where the Program has been closed down as we knew, but there are so many who have been treated and now have to find their way back into the world where people aren’t accepting really and no one knows what life will be like for those out of the program now.

Tatum is our lead – she’s been living through high school as the Program has taken it’s toll on all the kids around her.  her boyfriend was taken into the program and their love story was cut short. He’s now returned back to high school with no memory of Tatum, and that’s both heartbreaking but hopeful all the same.

The journey that we go on with Tatum and Wes is a complicated one.  They find their way back to each other but it’s not quite the same as before since Wes doesn’t remember anything.  It’s intense to see how their connection grows and extends even under these new conditions.  Of course, that’s all made more complicated when they learn of The Adjustment, which is supposed to be a treatment that brings back memories so that the returners can begin to live their best life.

Where the story goes from there is so complicated and dark that you get sucked in.  We see that secrets begin to unfold, both with Tatum keeping secrets from her grandparents about what she’s doing with Wes.  They adore him but with their background (gram being in medicine and Pops being a reporter), there’s so much fear and skepticism that Tate has no choice but to hide things.

While they see progress with The Adjustment, there are so many setbacks as well.  Even in the grand scheme of things in the school, there are issues arising.  So many of the returners are having issues and are killing themselves spawning a new epidemic.  Then we see one girl Vanessa who’s gone through The Adjustment start to have problems stemming from memories, paranoia etc.  She makes us start to think about things differently and it starts to make you think about what’s really going on again since all is definitely not how it seems.

Where we end this next installment is nuts.  Things that we thought we knew about people were completely false and backstories on others are beyond fabricated.  Friendships and relationships were not at all clear and when we see characters that we love and adore either die or lose themselves again, it makes you anxious to see what’s next.  I honestly cannot wait for what’s to come in this series since there’s so much that has not been resolved.  Enjoy!

Review: The Epidemic (The Program #0.6) by Suzanne Young

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Title: The Epidemic
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year:  Simon Pulse 4/19/16
Length:   278 Pages
Series:  The Program #0.6

Overview

Can one girl help others find closure by slipping into the identities of their loved ones? Find out in this riveting sequel to The Remedy and companion to the New York Times bestselling The Treatment and The Program.

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee has spent her life acting as other people. She was a closer—a person hired to play the role of the recently deceased in order to give their families closure. Through this process, Quinn learned to read people and situations, even losing a bit of herself to do so. But she couldn’t have guessed how her last case would bring down her entire world.

The only person Quinn trusts is Deacon, her best friend and the love of her life. Except Deacon’s been keeping secrets of his own, so Quinn must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, the doctor who’s been trying to control her life. The journey brings Quinn to Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who tells Quinn the truth about Pritchard’s motives. The former closer will start to see that she is the first step in fighting an epidemic.

But Quinlan doesn’t want to be a cure. And with all the lies surrounding her, she realizes she has no one left to rely on but herself—even if she doesn’t know who that is anymore.

My Thoughts

We have grown very close to Quinn, Deacon and even Aaron throughout these companion books to The Program series, and i think that it’s really great to see how things all came into play since we know that there was an epidemic of suicides which spawned the creation of the Program and it’s not from a good place.

At the end of The Remedy, we learned that while Quinn has been living her life as a closer – pretending to be someone else, she’s actually a closer herself.  She learned at the very end of the book that she’s been living as Quinn and that’s not her true identity.

So we pick up when Aaron and his GF (a non closer) were running away to live a ‘normal’ life as best as they could, and Deacon and Quinn were running to Roseburg to find the dr who’s responsible for the grief department and all that the closers have been doing.

On this journey though it focuses a lot on trust – who you can trust, what everyone’s motivation is, and whether there’s going to be any resolution to the nonsense that’s been going on.  Quinn begins to feel like Deacon again isn’t being honest with her and actually feels that he’s against her given that he received a text that was looking for her – so she runs from him as well, and just when she thinks that she’s safe, she realizes that someone else is trying to harm her, and off she goes again.

It’s a roller coaster to be honest – emotions all over the place, new characters being introduced all the time and old ones coming back to make things even more complicated.  Marie – their adviser plays an interesting role in all of this, and i think that Virginia herself is something of an enigma.  She’s at the center of the suicides that started all this for Quinn and even back home where Virginia lives, so it’s just a matter of time before things really begin to get dicey.

Bits of the Treatment and Epidemic are coming out as we learn more – and we see that even closures aren’t immune.  Folks that we care for die, and folks that we want to have hope for lose it.  I still don’t know if at the end of this prequel, that we know who we can trust.  Tom – Quinn’s dad isn’t what he seems, and neither is Marie.  I feel like Deacon, Aaron and Quinn will continue to have their struggles too and it’s not going to be good.

The nice setup here though is that if you haven’t read the rest of the main series you get a glimpse into the set up of it all, and you’re not seeing it as a spoiler.  There’s also a hint into the characters that we really fell in love with from the other part of the series as well and i think that it’s really great to see how the evolution of it all happened. Suzanne Young is def becoming one of my favorite authors because of how she’s able to weave the stories together without making you feel like you’ve had to read the others to get it.  it’s impressive.

Anyway – have a great wednesday all and i’ll be back soon!

Review: Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

No-Brainer

Title:  Hotel Ruby
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse 11/03/15
Length:  199 pages

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Program comes a brand-new haunting, romantic, and suspenseful story about one girl’s search for healing in a grand and mysterious hotel full of secrets.

Stay tonight. Stay forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between in a place that is so much more than it seems…

And the 13th chapter will only add to the mystery behind the 13th floor of Hotel Ruby…and ultimately, what it means for Audrey.

Welcome to the Ruby.

My Thoughts

coming from the author of The Program, i was certain that we’d get a great story – and while this was really good (ergo the reading it in less than 24 hours), it’s NOTHING like i expected.  Ms. Young had done a great job in her past series writing a compelling dystopian story, and here what we get, is a YA story for sure, with bits of fantasy and sci-fi (i.e. the ghosts???)

We learn that we’re about 3 months post the death of Audrey and Daniel’s mom and it’s been a really tough time for the family.  Their dad hadn’t been able to control his grief, and the kids had acted out – resulting in this move of the kids to their grandmothers for the summer (or forever).  While the kids plot their next move on the drive to grandmas, their lives change forever.

Dad decides to make a side trip overnight to stay as a family at Hotel Ruby since it’s late, and once they enter, everything that they knew, thought or felt was up in the air.  We know that Audrey meets Elias the first night when she sneaks into a party that’s invitation only only to get kicked out, resulting in his attention as he shows her around the hotel.  Daniel and their dad though, they find themselves in a different space.  Daniel of course gets the attention of women there and their dad seems to get grounded some how and comes out of his grief a bit.

The story from there goes through their stay being extended so that they can enjoy things a bit more as a family, Audrey continues to question what’s really going on in this supposed haunted hotel, decipher between the lives of the guests and the staff, all while trying to figure out what it is that draws her to Elias.

The ending, while surprising, isn’t that surprising at all.  i think that we all want a happy ending, wake up from a dream, find out that everyone’s in on a joke etc.  Ms Young doesn’t disappoint.  I feel like there were hopes for some things to happen and others to not.  For their dad to realize that he’s been neglecting them and go be all happy family again, but who knows if that’s even possible.

All wrapped up in a little bow, this one installment story has just the right level of intrigue, mystery, romance and character relationship depth/dynamic to make it a great read.  On that note – Happy Saturday everyone and i’ll be back soon.

Review: The Remedy (The Program #0.5) by Suzanne Young

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Title:  The Remedy
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse4/21/15
Length: 416 pages
Series: The Program #0.5

Overview

Can one girl take on so many identities without losing her own? Find out in this riveting companion to The Programand the New York Times bestselling The Treatment.

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be themfor all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

My Thoughts

i LOVE this series and this prequel of sorts really does it justice.  I don’t know why but i always assume that 0.5 books are going to be novellas but what we have here is a REALLY great full installment to the series, a set up of sorts that leaves you wondering, yet gives you just a few answers.

What we have here is the beginnings to understanding why Dr Pritchard is how he is, and while we don’t get the answers, we see that The Program is very personal to him as a result of some people that we learn very little about here.

Quinn, Aaron and Deacon are Closers – put into situations where they are trying to help families deal with the deaths of loved ones.  they are among a select group trained to do this task, and it’s one that you have to be VERY cautious with in the sense that you can lose yourself each time.  Deacon and Quinn used to be partners before he quit, and as partners, they even got romantically entwined.  I love how that continued to play a role in the story since we see that Quinn needs something to ground her, and while she wants it to be him, they both aren’t ready to admit that it’s really as it is.

Aaron is her new partner who she’s very close with, and when they are both put into situations outside of the norm, immediately following another assignment which is odd as well as being close to each other – well, they see that while they want to rely on each other, there’s trust issues.

I guess the basis for this story is the development of the suicide epidemic, which no one really knows about yet, and no one knows how bad it’s going to get.  We only start to get glimpses of things happening, and i’m guessing that we’ll get a continuation of where this goes before the actual first installment takes place since we’re left with a few folks on the run, and the sense that someone’s not being honest about their role.

Suzanne Young’s done it again, giving us a character dynamic and storyline that really makes you want to be invested and engaged.  I have to say that once i actually sat down to read it, it was a very quick read.  (my flight home no less) – and i really feel like there’s so much going on that makes you stop and think about what the long term effects.  There’s even a twist with Quinn that i kind of expected, but didn’t want to admit to myself that we only learn of through the course of the story.  and on that note- i’m off to the next book.  Happy Saturday!

Review: The Recovery (The Program #2.5) by Suzanne Young

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Title:  The Recovery
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse 2/24/2015
Length: 80 pages
Series: The Program #2.5

Overview

Realm hopes that with each past he helps to recover, he’ll be able to reclaim a small bit of his own in this spinoff story to Suzanne Young’s bestselling duology, The Program and The Treatment.

Six months after the fall of The Program, ex-handler Michael Realm is struggling with his guilt. After all, he was instrumental in erasing the memories of several patients—including one he claimed to love. With a lifetime of regret stretched before him, Realm vows to set things right.

Along with his friend (yes, friend) James Murphy, Realm will track down those he’s hurt in an attempt to give them back their lives—starting with Dallas Stone. He’s not looking for forgiveness or redemption; he’s not a hero. But helping others may be the only way to save himself.

My Thoughts

I really like Realm now – and i think that he’s come a long way from the guy that we met in the first installment of the series.  In this novella, it’s his turn to try to make amends – to find a way to live with what he’s done and who he’s become.  He knows that it’ll most likely come with a world of hurt – knowing that he’s going to reveal what he’s done to all his friends from the Program, but it’s something that’s necessary.

We go on the journey with him and James – as they go find Dallas first and then a few others.  Dallas being the toughest since Realm knows what their relationship was before the program and what it is now.  His inner frustration is that he still has this unrequited love for Sloane who’s with James, and knows that he won’t be with her, but there’s a strong tie to Dallas that he just doesn’t want to allow her to get back into since he’s just going to hurt her.

The nice thing about this novella too is that we get to see some of the struggle that perfect James has going on.  he’s questioning a lot these days now that he has his memories back and Sloane doesn’t – and that’s something that i hope we’ll get to see get resolved.  He has this sense that he loves her more than she loves him since he has their past – and that their relationship is changed.  i hope that it doesn’t break them up and i think that there’s definitely a good place for that bit of the story to go if our author decides to take us there.

The appearance of someone at the very end of this installment though gives us hope for Realm – that there’s a way to get through on the other side in a good place and i hope that’s going to be a continuation that we see.  So…on that note – i believe there’s another installment coming in April – that’s sort of a prequel of sorts.  So until then, enjoy!

Review: The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young

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Title: The Treatment
Author:  Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year:  Simon Pulse 4/29/14
Length:  352 Pages
Series: The Program #2

Overview

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

My Thoughts

the entire time that i was reading this story, i was thinking that it was part of a trilogy, but nope – i believe that it’s just a 2 book series.  In any event, i think that we got a decent ending to the journey that these guys took.  When we pick up in this 2nd book, we are with Sloane and James when they are on the run from The Program – they had escaped and fled at the direction of Michael Realm – once they managed to find one another and really begin to internalize what’s going on with The Program.

What this story is, is a question about who you can trust, and if you think that you can trust them, can you trust all that they tell you since you can’t remember what they are telling you to be correct from the past.  Apologies for the circular notion here, but it’s where we go with them. While Sloane and James believe that they are in love and believe that they were in love before, there are things that come up that they aren’t sure they can believe since they don’t have their memories.  When the rebels are then involved – Dallas and Cas to be exact, things become even muddier.  Dallas was in the Program before so she doesn’t have her memories either, but Cas who wasn’t in the Program is just part of the cause .

We are taken on escape after escape so that Sloane and James can stay safe while the rebels figure out how to take down the Program.  Realm comes back and makes things more confusing since he and Sloane have a mini-past from the program and then briefly afterwards when James wasn’t feeling emotions towards Sloane.  It makes things harder since we know that Realm loves her, even if she says that she doesn’t feel the same.

What we’re forced to question is who we can trust like i’ve said before, and whether it’s worth it or not.  I think that as the last third or so of the book heats up, we find that there’s so much more of a gray area around everyone.  Trust is broken, folks are captured and secrets are revealed for most.

I have to say though that the ending is what i expected and the epilogue took us to a nice place that was needed.  We find the resolution that we were hoping for with some, and deal with the pain and absence of others since there is tragedy among friends.  Where other series in the genre leave things open ended, this one actually gives us a sense of closure – and that’s something that’s a welcome change.  I hope you guys enjoy it!

Review: The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young

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Title:  The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year:  Simon Pulse 4/30/13
Length:  416 pages
Series: The Program #1

Overview

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.

My Thoughts

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!