The Program #1. Simon Pulse (April 2013) Own
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.
What can I say about this book other than how simply perfect it was in every conceivable way? The dynamics of the characters, the world in which they lived in, and the way the story flowed. I was hooked by all of it throughout the whole book. Everything that was thrown at Sloane was heart-wrenching. In a world where suicide in teens is an epidemic The Program is there to protect lives. However, the Program is this misguided evil organization that doesn't understand it's doing more bad than good. By erasing "infected" memories they are taking the good ones too. What they deem to be a bad influence may be the only reason someone feels life is worth living like with the case of Sloane and James.
I loved how everything was sequenced. I got to know Sloane, her brother, and James' friendship with flashbacks. I got to hear her tell the story of how she fell madly in love with James. I got to see how he became her strength when her brother killed himself and when The Program put pressure on everyone to be normal, showing no grief even when she was losing everyone around her. Then, everything that followed was just amazing. This book has no flaws in my eyes. I'm so happy to have read it.
I feel like whenever there is an evil organization or adults who think they are doing what is best for kids have no idea how life works. Not being able to express pain over your brother's passing without being threatened to have your memories erased is kind of key to recovery. Teenagers can move forward if they have some sense of security and caring counselors who don't want to drug you. This story was all sorts of tragically wonderful even with all the injustice present.
All of the characters had distinct personalities. Their cohesiveness with the way the story was being carried out was brilliant. The characters whether primary or secondary were fantastic at being who they are. Even the misguided or terrifying ones were just so good! Sloane wasn't a damsel in distress thank goodness. She was rebellious, angry, and hurt about the life she was dealt with. The only thing that kept her happy was James. I loved everything about their relationship. I liked how hard she fought to keep him in her memory. Then she meets Realm, a boy who's going through the Program too and that becomes amazingly complicated.
I feel like I can't even write this review correctly but I gave it a shot. I'm just full of emotions and I'm trying to contain myself without putting a ridiculous amount of exclamations everywhere. Before I ramble on even more or ruin something I want to finally write how highly I recommend this book. It is worth checking out. You will get completely sucked in this impossibly cruel world with fantastic, amazing (all the adjectives!) characters.