Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: Program #1
Edition: ebook, 405 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi Dystopian
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
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.
The Program was a surprise, because while it had an interesting sound I didn’t really expect to love it as much as I did.
The writing is very strong and it has some very interesting world-building involved. It almost seems like a normal place despite some futuristic advancements, however teen suicide has been labeled an epidemic and if you’re diagnosed you’re sent to The Program. It’s a place where they wipe you clean and leave you with none of yourself. That in itself is really unsettling, but as a person who deals with depression it kind of hits me on a different level. The arrogance of needing to ‘fix’ someone with depression and the fact that everyone is behind it brings out a bit of anger in me at the same time it puts me ill-at-ease. Teen depression is already a hard mountain to climb and most teens don’t have it, it’s just normal angst and stress but this a world where your own family can turn against you. Imagine the amount of stress that causes a person, now add in the fact that if you even look sad you might end up at The Program. It’s just crazy.
I really loved the way the characters are in this one. Sloane is a great character who deals with immense stress and grief from loosing the people she cares about. She also fights even though she’s in a place designed to make her lose, and I found myself rooting for her. I loved how the loss of memories in some of the characters was handled and how slow and progressive it was. It really gives you a certain kind of insight into the situations and at the same time breaks your heart a bit because you can see the loss but they can’t. I was also surprised to see that this was the first ina series because it sort of sounds like it might be a standalone, but the set-up for the future books is clear and the last few chapters really get things rolling.
I can’t wait to see what has happened with Sloane, Lacey, and James in the next book. I’m really hoping that I get some answers that were not touched on in this one and I’m hoping to see what exactly is going on with those who don’t support the mind-washing.