The Program by Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: April 30th 2013
My rating: 4 stars
My rating: 4 stars
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.
Last night I was browsing Goodreads, looking for something interesting to read and The Program caught my eye. Sure, I've heard of it before but I wasn't so sure if it would be something I usually enjoy. Since I'm a risk taker I decided to read it the next morning. I didn't expected to be so engrossed in Sloane's world.
Sloane's surrounded by fear every day of her life since her older brother killed himself. Every third teen is suicidal so the government developed The Program which helps teens 'forget' about their problems. One of Sloane's friends, Lacey, is one of those rehabilitated teens. Lacey's boyfriend, devastated when Lacey doesn't recognize his kills himself, leaving Sloane and her boyfriend James to fend for themselves. They can't trust their parents because they fear they would end up brainwashed like Lacey so they only trust each other. After not being able to endure the pain any longer, James starts cutting himself which only results in him being sent to The Program. When he gets back, he doesn't remember Sloane and her depression only grows stronger. Her parents send her to the rehabilitation and we get to witness how the process actually works.
A lot of other reviewers mentioned Sloan not being a strong character but I disagree. She was doing her best. Take note she didn't had the chance to grieve over the death of her brother, she also lost all of her friends and her boyfriend. She had no idea who is trustworthy inside the facility. She did fight to keep her memories from being erased and that was all she could've done.
James was charming and fun despite living in such a dreary world. He was there for Sloane, even after the treatment, when they didn't know each other.
Realm was also interesting in his own way. He develops connection with Sloan while she's being brainwashed. He's the only person who didn't mind having a fresh start so that even made me want to want to more about his past. Hopefully, more will be revealed about him in the sequel.
That epilogue shocked me. Didn't see the twist coming. The repetition of the scene was well done. I still can't believe it happened.
Despite the lack of action which I usually crave, I couldn't put this book down. It's not hard to picture something like this happening in the not so distant future, which made it even scarier. Even now, so many people medicate themselves to dull the physical and mental ache. It was smart of the author to tackle this issue.