Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

Genre:  YA Dystopian
Program Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Suzanne Young's website):
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.

When kids are transitioning from the kid-stage to the adult-stage, life gets hectic.  We want our independence, but we're not really smart enough for that completely (using the "we" noun even though I'm not included in the teen category).  Our parents want to shelter us from the the horrors in the world, but they can't always do that.  And our feelings and emotions are totally on overdrive.  But in Sloane's world, showing those emotions can get you into trouble.

The best way to cure suicidal thoughts is to take those thoughts away, right?  In this book, we're going to explore this very question.  I will admit, talking about suicide and seeing how much of it occurs in the book is a little depressing and over the top.  But the book is good.  Sloane has had a rough life: she's seen some very traumatizing things, including suicide, and she's watched her best friend come out of The Program remembering nothing.  Her best friend has become a clean slate, remembering nothing of her tortured past, but she looks happy.  And is Sloane happy?  She's in love, but her world is falling apart.  And not being able to talk things through with anyone, including her parents, makes things spiral out of control.  And soon enough, she's in The Program having her memories erased.  Is it worth it?

This book from start to finish: wow.  Just wow.  It was beautifully well-written, and I was enraptured all the way through.  Towards the ending, I was getting nervous that it wasn't going to be good because I hate bad endings.  But it ended well.  And I'd love to say more without ruining it for you.

If you liked A Need So Beautiful, keep reading Suzanne Young's books.  If you haven't, but this one's caught your attention, read it!  And then read her other books...  I believe I have a new favorite author.

Challenges:  Dystopia Reading Challenge

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