by Suzanne Young
Format: ARC- received in exchange for my honest opinion from Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: 4.30.13 (sorry we have to wait so long!)
Midnight Minute: In a world where teens routinely have their memories taken from them, is it possible to stay true to yourself?
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.
~ The Program imagines a world where the solution to teen suicide (which has reached epidemic heights) is solved by a procedure that wipes out memories and creates happy, docile teens. Think lobotomy (which is reserved for the particularly tough to “cure” teens).
~In the beginning of the book it’s explained that the high school’s third floor windows don’t open in order to prevent suicidal teens from hurling themselves out of them. For some reason that reminded me of the afterschool movie I watched as a kid- some girl high on angel dust or LSD (are they the same thing?) thinks she can fly and goes out the window. Or maybe she thought she had bugs on her? But it worked- I have never done the angel dust or LSD.
~This book is similar to the movie Disturbing Behavior, which in turn has it’s roots in The Stepford Wives. There’s no robots here, but I found the concept of literally losing everything that makes you who you are truly frightening.
~The book might not be the most realistic, but I could see something like The Program coming along if suicide was ever so easily spread like it is in the book. With “heliocopter” parents already being way involved in every aspect of their child’s life, wouldn’t it be worth it to them to protect their children, even if it meant changing them?
~the book takes place in Oregon. I’m trying to be more aware of where books are set. So there, I’ve done your work for you if you’re looking for books to read for some 2013 state challenge.
~In order to try to cut down on teen depression, atheletics has been cut. I get that it’s a way to stop kids from feeling bad about not making the team, but what about the fact that exercise makes you feel good naturally?
~two movies, both staring Christian Slater, deal with teen suicide. Heathers is a dark comedy where popular kids are seemingly killing themselves and it creates a whole culture of love-ins and hit songs like “Suicide- Don’t Do It”. Slater’s movie Pump Up the Volume contains the best reasoning to teens against committing suicide, ever. For obvious reasons, this book reminded me of those movies.
~Sloane’s relationship with her parents is strained in the wake of her brother’s suicide, and the gap between them only grows because the threat of being sent away to The Program is lurking behind every interaction.
~Because The Program steals so many of your memories, it’s entirely possible to return not knowing if you’re nice, if you’re a good person, if you’ve been kissed or if you’re a virgin. I found that to be terrifying, that you could not know the most basic information about yourself.
~My favorite part of the book is the flashbacks to James and Sloane’s romance. I love the whole “guy dates best friend’s little sister”, I could have read an entire book based on the early days of James and Sloane. I can eat whole bowlfuls of that happy, romantic shiz.
~A side effect of the drugs used in The Program? Loss of appetite. I personally am willing to let some memories go in order to lose weight. That time I slipped in the laundry room in front of a bunch of people? Erased! The time in middle school when I thought it was a good idea to use a band-aid to cover up a blemish? Erased! Bring it on, Program!
~ The President of The Program is Arthur Pritchard- I wonder if it’s anything to do with the fictional author and poem grafting tool mentioned in Dead Poet’s Society, J. Evans Pritchard? The scene where Robin Williams (Oh Captain, Oh Captain!) has the students rip out that drivel is classic.
~This review is making me realize that I possible spent too much time in the 90’s watching movies…
~I had a few problems with The Program, especially with how magically turning 18 kept you safe, but that most parents ignored the fact that their kids were less than a semester away from safety.
~Also, all the adults seemingly embrace The Program, but no one knows the long term effects.
~The book isn’t realistic, but here’s another movie reference for you- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The second and third part of this book definitely reminded me of it.
~I love that the book explores the question of whether we would be drawn to the same people we’d gravitated to before if our memories were wiped.
James- Sloane’s boyfriend, he tries so hard to hold on to S and their friends, taking on a lot of responsibility. He’s a hottie.
Lacey- Sloane’s friend who has just gone through The Program.
Miller- Lacey’s boyfriend, unable to give up on her.
Realm- first name, Michael. He’s a bit of an anti-hero, but I adored him.
Roger- creepy Program handler. He’s got his eye on Sloane.
Kevin- friend to Realm and knows nu-Lacey.
Brady- Sloane’s brother who committed suicide.
I really liked this book. I was very into the plot, and it surprised me by not going where I thought it was initially. I will definitely be buying my own copy of The Program in 2013 when it comes out- and I’m hoping the author will be at BEA next May!
Suzanne Young — Website |Suzanne Young
The Program gets a Midnight Book Rating of: