The Program – Suzanne Young

Published August 26, 2013 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

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.

What did I think?:

This book was recommended to me by my sister, as my guilty pleasure is a good dystopian young adult novel. The premise of this story is very intriguing, the rates of teenage suicide are going up at an alarming rate, and to try and cap the epidemic, the powers that be have brought in a new treatment plan for depressed teens known as The Program. The frightening part about this new initiative however, is the popping of mysterious pills that erase all memories from the traumatised teen allowing them to return hollowed out and empty, mere shadows of their former self. Sloane and her boyfriend James are delirously happy in their relationship, but Sloane’s brother has recently committed suicide, and all her friends seem to be dropping like flies – admitted to The Program, and released like zombies, all their memories of their lives taken from them. Sloane is terrified that she or James may be next and that they will forget their relationship and each other.

Warning – this is not a cheery book! (Well it’s about teen suicide, what do you expect?). The story is told from Sloane’s point of view, and we share her sadness about her brother’s death, her worry that “the handlers” will take her next, and the love she feels for her boyfriend, James. There are, as you can imagine, a lot of tears and teenage angst, frustration, anger and, at the heart of it, depression. Probably not the best book to read if you are feeling a bit down, but I enjoyed the way it was presented by the author. My only issue with the book, and it’s only a small one, is that it focuses a lot on Sloane, her feelings and her relationships. I would have liked to learn more about The Program, and the individuals that run it, and believe this would have given the book a bit more of a dystopian edge. It is without doubt a powerful and exciting idea for a story, and perhaps it will be focused on in the follow up novels. I look forward to seeing what the author does next with the characters and will definitely be continuing with the series.

Would I recommend it?:


Star rating (out of 5):


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