Title: The Program
Length: 416 pages
1442445807 (ISBN13: 9781442445802)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Expected Date of Publication: April 30,2013
Rating: 4 Stars
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
This book is a breath of fresh air in the land of YA dystopia. Tackling sensitive subjects such as teen suicide within the course of a novel is never easy. Taking on said subject while world building, maintaining authenticity of message and establishing a relatable cast, is nothing short of daunting.
This book packs both a literal and figurative punch from it's opening pages, and maintains a storyline that grips the reader and keeps the pages flying.
Though the high level of loss and high emotionality of this story's first half can prove very disconcerting; it is balanced out and given context by the second.
The relationship between Sloane and James seems a little codependent; given the fact that they serve as each other's emotional touchstone, one can let that slide.
Suzanne Young does a wonderful job establishing "The Program" as " police state." Thereby establishing a tension which keeps the reader "waiting for the other shoe to drop."
The only things keeping this away from the five star mark are:
1. The vague explanation of how the suicide epidemic came about.
2. The missing details of how "The Program" works.
3. Rushed ending.
Here's hoping that these issues will be rectified in book number two.
This is a really timely and passionately expressed read, that deals with a subject close to the hearts of today's teens in a new and wonderful way.