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. (via Goodreads)
Source: Gift! 😀
Suicide is not an epidemic. You can’t “catch” suicide, or depression, from another person. Looking through Goodreads, I see that this is the number-one problem most people have with the book. A lot of people have actually had suicidal thoughts, and some of the reviewers found it offensive and demeaning that suicide was an epidemic. Personally, I didn’t have problems with this, but I can see where others are coming from.
There were no truly “good” male characters. I thought Miller was a really nice male character, but he wasn’t in the book long enough for me to truly get to know him.
The parents were such bad parents. They never notice when their daughter sneaks out at night, never even suspect her of cutting class, and ultimately want to turn her into The Program. They don’t even consider trying to help their daughter; they just call the authorities on her.
The romance played a part in the story. Sort of. Well, it kind of turned into the story. But I digress. You really could feel how much all the characters depended on and need each other. Not just Sloane and James, but Miller and Lacey, too.
It falls into the Dystopian Trap. Well, it’s not really dystopian, buuuuutttt…. it skirts the question. It doesn’t give us any answers about the suicide epidemic. It supposedly happens sometime soon (four years-ish??), but it doesn’t explain why. Or how. I actually had trouble figuring out when this was supposed to be set.
It was a enjoyable, if superficial, read. The guys are all bad-mysterious-boys, and the girls are pretty and lean on the guys. But I really did enjoy reading the book. The pacing was fantastic, and the way it’s written has you turning the pages. I read the book in one sitting.
James: He wasn’t the main character, but, well, I felt like I knew him more than I knew Sloane. He was bipolar, yes, and not the best guy in the entire world. But I liked how he was not only Sloane’s “rock,” like a lot of YA boyfriends are, but he was really there for everyone.
Sloane: To be perfectly honest, Sloane was a bit… two-dimensional. We know she’s pretty. We know she is afraid of The Program. We know she loves James (honestly, we got descriptions of nothing but James. I have a really good visual of him now.). But she never really makes her own decisions. She relies on James outside of The Program and Realm and Roger in The Program. She wasn’t the strong female character I was expecting to see. She’s supposed to “hold it in,” but what really happens is her crying on James’s shoulder before going home. Every time. Also, she didn’t seem depressed. She seemed perfectly happy, just lost without James.
Roger: Um, yeah. Roger was a bit unnecessary. I can’t say any more for fear of the dreaded spoiler, but…
Lacey: I really loved how Lacey’s storyline was incorporated into the story. I can’t tell you anymore again *sobs* but she was a great addition to the storyline, if a bit two-dimensional like Sloane.
The Whole Realm-Love-Triangle Thing? No. Just… no.
The Program: There’s not actually a lot about The Program… in a book called The Program. It had a black-and-white BAD GUYS: Program, GOOD GUYS: Sloane and James feel to it, which is nice, but also a bit childish. I mean, come on. Even Voldemort’s reasons are revealed. I did enjoy how they took away the memories, though. A bit scientifically questionable but, hey, they call it science fiction for a reason, don’t they? 😛
OVERALL: In other words, it wasn’t the best book on the planet, and I had some problems with the characters, but the writing urged me on, and it read like a thriller. Also, I didn’t like Sloane much because of her two-dimensional damsel-in-distressness. Will I be reading The Treatment? I don’t know.
Rating: 2.5/5 Wagging Tails