Friday, July 19, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

Series: The Program (bk. 1)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: suicide, death, love, brainwashing, psychological disorders, memory, Oregon

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 405 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $16.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster: Simon Pulse

Summary/ product description: “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.”

My Review: This book was way better than I expected. I loved A Need so Beautiful, the author first YA book. This book, part of a new series, has a unique premise to a near-future dystopia where suicide is an epidemic. It wasn’t futuristic or post-apocalyptic. It was more of a contemporary dystopia, with psychological disorders, mainly depression, being the issue. The 1st part of the book is set in normal seemingly modern Oregon, and in high school. The second part is in a metal health facility that’s part of the program. And later on in part three, I can’t tell you where it’s set.

The characters are pretty interesting, even if they seem helpless in parts, their hearts are strong. The main character is Sloane (how do you even pronounce that name? Such a strange name for a girl, also seen in the book This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers, the character Sloane was suicidal). She’s madly in love with James, and they’ve been in a relationship for the past 2 years. James was her brother best friend before that. Her brother died over a year and a half ago. They seem like an awesome couple.

So when their other friend commits suicide, James becomes depressed and is flagged. The Program’s handlers come and take him away. Sloane can only hope that he’ll remember her when he comes back in 6 weeks. Because the Program erases your memories. The cure is getting rid of the memories that supposedly are causing the depression. But they also take away good ones that go along with the bad.

When Sloane ends up in the program herself, there’s nothing she can do to escape. She must survive a program and make sure she doesn’t forget everything, especially not James. I felt so sad for her. Her personality and voice are so strong, but she was helpless. She made friends with Mike Realm, playing card and he really helped her through. The story was so compelling and emotional. There was some romance later on, but mostly just her memories of James.

If you’ve read Delirium for Lauren Oliver, this book had that sort of feel. And world where you can’t show your true emotions or they’ll try to “cure” you or send you away. Love was a disease in Delirium. Sadness, grief, anger and depression are the disease here. Depression may be a mental disorder, but treatments these days don’t go to the extremes this book’s near-future world does. Also other parts of this book reminded me of Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles) and In The After (part 2 of the book). Any book about brainwashing or memories. I recommend this book if you like any ones I mentioned.

Cover Art Review: Nice, simple, clean and fitting for the book. The couple, the pill and the stark white hallway. I love the cover under the dust jacket too. You see the couple’s faces. They look very familiar. Wonder if they were on any other book covers.

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