Series: The Program #1
Published by Simon Pulse on April 30, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, YA
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 I Thought…
- Initially I had no intention of reading The Program. The synopsis did not look like anything I would like so I didn’t give it another glance. My friend Kate read it and loved it and recommended it to fellow book club member Katie. Katie hardly reads any YA so when she read it and loved it I knew I had to give it a shot and I’m so glad I did!
- Young took what could have just been a plain, dark and simple dystopian and turned it on it’s side. There were a lot of sad parts but also some happy ones. She also kept me on my toes. There was a lot of action with a few twists.
- The Program is the first book in a long time that has given me so much to think about after I finished. It raises so many issues and questions.
- The Program is for teenagers that are identified as being at risk for committing suicide. Once they are at risk they go into The Program and basically come out as a zombie, with no memories of their prior selves. Once they are 18 they are no longer at risk for suicide. Personally it seems a bit ludicrous that everyone believes that once you are 18 that thoughts of suicide just go away, but whatever.
- Sloane, her boyfriend James and their friend Miller are desperate to avoid going into the program. They’ve seen what it does (their friend Lacey was in the program) and want not part of it. The have to lie and fake happiness all the time just to convince everyone that they are “fine.” They are not allowed to grieve for those they lost, including Sloane’s brother Brady.
- The Program is the adults vs the kids. The parents want what’s “best” for their children and the kids just want to survive and be honest about their feelings, which they can’t do if they want to avoid The Program. There is a lot of tension between the adults and the kids, especially surrounding the kids who have been through the program.
- It’s really hard to talk about the plot without giving things away, but I will say that Young kept me on my toes and also tore my heart to pieces. There were times I laughed and times I almost cried (there were two times in particular that were soooooo difficult).
- One of the things I loved about The Program was the realisticness of teenagers. Despite the fact that teenage suicide is an epidemic teenagers are still going through their regular every day things. They make out. They have sex. These things happen in real life and I liked that Young included them in the book instead of dancing around it or pretending it doesn’t exist.
- I absolutely LOVED how the romance played out. There was so much outside turmoil and things that happened outside of their control and I can’t really say anything else without spoilers but it worked perfectly for me. There were so many cute moments between Sloane and James.
I know a lot of people are burned out on dystopian, but trust me, The Program is different! I highly recommend it!
“…some things are better left in the past. And true things are destined to repeat themselves.”
“If it’s meant to be, you’ll find each other again.”