The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young. Published April 30, 2013 by Simon Pulse. CDN $11.99 Kindle edition.
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. (Goodreads excerpt)
Well, I read this book on the advice of my 15 year old daughter. She told me I absolutely had to read it. I was a little wary at first, but I am really glad I took the plunge. The book is broken into three parts dealing with different aspects of the book- the epidemic of suicide-the program-and after the program.
Throughout the book I went through different emotions of sympathy, anger, rage, hope and a few others thrown in. My daughter kept asking if I was angry yet as I was reading so she obviously felt the same way. I don’t want to give anything away but how or why a government or parent would want a child to have their entire memories erased is beyond me. I understand the desire to not want to lose a child to suicide, but would you opt for them to be just a shell of themselves instead? To me that isn’t living. The story is told exceptionally well and you really get into the emotionally heart wrenching state that the participants of the program find themselves.
One of the best things about this book is the characterization of Sloan. You truly get a sense of who she is as a person, her fears, her hopes and her need to cling to her past at all costs. She is defiant, courageous and loyal to the end. You find yourself cheering for her throughout the book.
The interaction between James and Sloan is awesome. They are cute and sweet and truly believe they are ‘soul mates’. James is Sloan’s rock and the one person who keeps her all together. Their love is tested when tragedy strikes and I won’t say what happens to them but part of the story line is the question of ‘can love conquer all’. The chemistry between the two is realistic and amazing and you really get a sense of who they are as a couple and what they mean to each other. I’m rooting for them all the way.
This is a hard review to write without giving anything away so I will leave it at this: I really enjoyed the book, much more than I thought I would. It isn’t depressing, but is more like a future dystopian novel where the repressed need to fight the government in order to survive. (With a love story thrown in for good measure.) The book gives you much to think about. All in all, an enjoyable read.
I give it 5 stars. I can’t wait for the release of the second book.