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.
Includes a bonus interview with the author.
©2013 Suzanne Young (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
Yes! I've already listened to it twice and now my daughter is listening to it. The story is very intriguing and performed very well. The story leaves you wanting more.
I cannot wait for the sequel!!!
***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***
The Program is an evil bad thing where teenagers get sent if they show signs of depression. ALL TEENAGERS show signs of depression at some point. I just couldn't suspend my disbelief on this point - I was really hoping the book would explain the sociological background in which people (big bad parents in this story) would willingly send their children to have their memories erased. The grownups in this book are portrayed as uncaring (the doctors, handlers, parents) and I just can't fathom a world, even an alternate universe, where people care so little about their own children. The ONLY treatment for signs of depression is memory erasure. Not therapy. Not talking it out. Not even mild exercise. Your kid's depressed? Have her memory erased. WTF?
Teenagers go from normal to suicidal in a matter of 2 weeks - WHY? This is never explained. Why are so many teenagers committing suicide - we're told that its a contagious disease - are people being poisoned? Is there mind control coming out of the TV? I was really hoping there would be some revelation about the causes of the epidemic.
When Sloane gets taken in to The Program, the very first time she is offered medication she takes it. Without being coerced. Without being injected against her will. Without even being threatened to be injected against her will. This is totally believable because she spends the first part of the book talking about how evil The Program is and how they will erase her memories.
When she comes out of the program, she seems to be the only person who is interested in learning about her past. Another point which I found hard to fathom.
At no point in the book is any differentiation made between grief, sadness, and depression. Everyone is sad once in a while, and grief is normal and expected when someone close to you has taken their life. But not everyone who is sad or grieving commits suicide. Not all people suffering from depression commit suicide. So why are these teenagers killing themselves? Unanswered questions might make a book more interesting, but in this case it just makes it hard to believe.
I started listening to this and I knew my students would love it. Several of my students listened to the audio and also bought it for their Nooks. They liked it better than The Hunger Games. We all hated for it to end and can hardly wait for the sequel. Our school library is getting it for sure.
I really just want to gush about this book that it's so hard for me to write this review. I have to slow down, step back and think about this coherently. It's been 2 days since I finished The Program and I haven't started listening to another book YET. This is not my norm...I end one, I start one. I just can't get this one out of my head. Okay...let me back up.
This book has been on my TBR since I first read the premise last summer. I'm chosey about my dystopian and YA books especially but this one just sounded so interesting to me. I've seen mixed reviews about this book and after I was told the audiobook was good, I didn't hesitate. I listened to this book in 2 days. I usually just listen on the car rides to and from work, but this book was so addicting that I just COULD NOT stop. My addiction was to the point that my husband was even taking notice. LOL
I've seen other reviews and it seems like others are upset about the premise of the book "suicide as an epidemic". Listen...if you are SUPER nit picky about science not working out perfectly in your book, then this book may annoy you. If you want to read a book for the enjoyment and aren't going to harp on the tiny details, YOU'LL LOVE THIS ONE!!!
Okay, review really below.....
The Program is told only from Sloane, the heroine's POV. She is living in a time where suicide has become an epidemic, an epidemic that caused the loss of her brother. Teens are struggling with their raging emotions but aren't able to fully express themselves for fear of The Program. Tons of people have bought into the propaganda including teachers and parents. There are handlers watching students at school all day long for an signs of distress.
There are 3 parts in the book. The first part Sloane tells us about her world. We learn about her relationship with her friends, her parents and most importantly James, her boyfriend. All of the students in her high school are scared of The Program. The only thing they know is that after 6 weeks in The Program the once "sick" teens are now blank slates and have lost their memories.
Sloane and James have been together for two years and are madly in love with each other. These two are just adorable together. They are trying to be strong for one another so that they don't get sick. There is only so much that they can do when everyone is getting sick around them, so Sloane and James are faced with the likelihood that they will enter The Program. Since the book takes place with them already been together for two years, we don't see their love blossoming first hand. We do get to see them present tense, as well as Sloane's past memories (some flashbacks) and hear her feelings for James.
I don't want to spoil most of the book but readers do learn the ins and outs of The Program, including how their memories are taken away. Sloane continues to be very strong throughout everything. No matter what has happened to her, she continues to stand up for herself and what she believes is right.
There are several great secondary characters including Miller, Lacey and Realm. Tons of twists and turns in this one. Jaw dropping incidences that had me completely baffled. Realm...oye Realm!! Realm made me want to love him and kill him at the same time.
The Program is a love conquers all book!! “If it's meant to be, you'll find each other again.”
**Note- This book is for mature YA readers. There is cursing and sex (not graphic at all) in the book.
(Fans of Shatter Me series would love this book!)
Not the best thing I've ever read but not the worst thing either. The author gets tangled up in too many details which makes this story kind of long and drawn out. The concept of the story is good though. And of course it end on a cliff hanger so you buy the next one.
I would recommend it, even more if they are parents of teenagers that are reading it (I'm 33, so my friends are more likely to be parents than to be teenagers themselves).
It has an interesting subject matter, different from other young adult books I have read, more close to our everyday society and enhancing some important issues that are a reality in the teens: the first love, facing the loss of your love ones, social pressures and expectancies, depression, suicide… and I'm pretty sure a lot of teenagers are going to feel really identify with some of the situations described in the story.
So yes, for those who like young adult books I would recommend this one.
I liked Joy Osmandi's performance, it was believable in terms of emotions and I think she accomplished all characters pretty well, easily identifiable.
I don't have to guess in this one, the end of the book is so open that is made for a follow up and in fact in the short interview with the writer at the very last chapter she confirms even the name of the sequel, not the date. And to be honest, I would listen the sequel, this is the kind of book that can keep me entertain enough as long as it keeps going with an interesting story.
I bought this one to listen to with my daughter and wasn't disappointed. The story is very timely and made for many long and interesting discussions with her about suicide and being able to show true emotions. The characters are typical teenagers. Unlike some books where the characters are perfect in every way, Sloane and James have the same feelings and fears as many of the teens I know.
I don't want to give away any of the story beyond saying it is much more than a book about teen suicide. At the end of the book, the author talks a bit about creating it and the story line of the next book in the series. Very exciting!
Every once in a while, I try a teen book to see if I will come across another Harry Potter (in the sense that it reaches adults in a strong way). I am probably not the best audience for this book. The premise was great, sort of a Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for teens. But, the main character was too pathetic for my taste. The writing needed to be a bit more crafty as well. It was just ok.
That said, I know a bunch of 14 year olds who are obsessed with it. So great pick for a teen.
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