Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Buy This Book: Book Depository
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.
It's books like The Program that make me so unbelievably happy that I began blogging. If it wasn't for my blog, I never would have discovered this amazing book. I'd seen it on so many other blogs, whether on Top Ten Tuesday posts or other things, I just had to pick it up and try it. The premise sounded so intriguing and I loved the cover, it really peaked my interest. I am so happy I found this book, because it's definitely a favourite book of mine now.
I am not completely sure what I was expecting from The Program, but it really blew me away. I thought it would concentrate very heavily on The Program, and that James and Sloane's relationship would be very much secondary to that. But it was actually the thing that really drew me into the book, and something that I adored the most about it. They've been together two years, but throughout the book we get Sloane's memories of their relationship; how they got together, their first kiss and other important events. They were really well done, and I completely fell for James and Sloane as a couple.
Their memories were a great way to understand their hatred of The Program. If they are sent there, they will lose all of those memories. They will lose everything about themselves that makes them who they are. Yes, the things they have lived through and seen aren't always pleasant, but those things have made them who they are as individuals. This book really got to me, and had me thinking a lot about all the questions it brings up. If you could forget something from your past, something completely devastating, would you? Because, if you did, it would change you completely as a person.
I have to mention Realm, a character that appears a little further into the book. I hate him. I, quite honestly, can't even explain why I hate him, I just do. From the very moment he first spoke to Sloane, I just despised him as a character. I think it's probably because I love James so much in this book, he was kind of perfect. And then stupid Realm appears, with his stupid name and just being all stupid... stupid head. I adored James more for the following quote:
"But when it comes to Michael Realm, I might be a little murderous. But just a little."
He completely understood how I felt. Who is Michael Realm anyway? Every time he appeared, I kind of shouted at my book... and Sloane.
My only real issue with the book was suicide as an epidemic. I can't quite work out if, in the book, it has actually turned into a disease or if that's just how it's viewed by people and the government in the book. It does explain that all of a sudden more and more teens started to kill themselves. It's so high that 1 in 3 teenagers were killing themselves. But it's never fully explained if it's actually some catchable disease in this book or not. Obviously, in real life, it isn't but it's not clear if that is the case here or not. That had me very confused, because if it isn't than all the teens in this are clearly mental. They all turn to suicide as the answer to EVERYTHING. It felt like 47 Ronin.
But despite that one issue, I absolutely loved this book. The Program just completely sucked me in. It left me with a lot of unanswered questions about the whole Program, suicide and everything else. But I still absolutely loved it. I didn't feel like I got every question answered, but I couldn't have cared by the end. I just really adored this book, especially James. It gripped me and had me caring so much about Sloane and about James. They were fighting so hard to stay out of The Program, to protect their memories and who they are as people. I was there, biting my nails, wanting to fight just as hard for them.
I was totally sucked into this story. I didn't want to put this book down once.