“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.”
Genre: Romance/General Fiction/Dystopia
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
My Rating: 5/5 stars
I was lucky enough to score an ARC for this book (Thanks to my local library! Thank chu, baby!) and, at first, I was very hesitant to read this book, having very low expectations for it. Now, I want to go back in time and slap myself for being such a fool.
This book is perfect. My gosh, I could gush about it all day but instead I will give you a (hopefully) coherent review of it.
First off, the characters were three dimensional like I’d never seen before. There is so much to them. Also, Young is the genius of dialogue. Every single line of dialogue rings so true to the character. And there are several lines that are so witty and funny that it makes me jealous that I can’t come up with stuff like that.
Now, I felt like I should dedicate a whole paragraph to the main guy in the novel: Mr. James Murphy. James is probably one of my favorite male characters in YA fiction. He is sweet and caring without being super sappy like other YA male characters, and I loved that so much. I loved the relationship he has with Sloane, I love his desire to protect her, I just love everything about him.
Probably my favorite thing about this book was that it was split into three parts and each part read like its own little novella. I loved this, as I am a HUGE fan of this kind of technique. It felt like I was reading three books in a series rather than just one whole novel and I loved that.
One of the things about part 3 is that there is a lot of dramatic irony (Dramatic Irony is irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the story). I loved this, but I was sitting there reading the book and yelling at the characters because I knew what they were searching for, I knew what they didn’t know, and it was so darn frustrating but it kept me flipping through the pages super fast.
What struck me about the story of this book is that the teens can not cry, can not feel sad, can not show any real emotion at all without fearing that they will be sent to The Program. It is scary and go someone go mad, and perhaps is this that causes the suicide epidemic. Just a random thought that came to me.
The story was fun and exciting to read. There was not much action, but the plot made up for it greatly. And the end – even though I can see that the ending is not particularly a cliff hanger, it feels like one to me. I want to know more, I want to know what happens next, and I’m probably going to have to wait another year for the sequel. *sigh*
So overall, The Program is an amazing novel. Everything about it is well-crafted: the characters, the story, the dialogue. Kudos to Suzanne Young for making such great characters that I can fangirl over for days and days.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Originally from New York, Suzanne Young moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She currently resides in Tempe, where she teaches high school English. When not writing obsessively, Suzanne can be found searching her own tragic memories for inspiration.
(I don’t usually put an ABOUT THE AUTHOR section but the beginning of this one made me laugh so hard.)