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.
(Picture and Summary from Goodreads)
I look back at James one last time, and he gives me his signature smile, wide and cocky. But it's not real. Sometimes I think it's never real.
James is the best at hiding the pain, disguising the feelings. He knows what it takes to stay out of The Program. He'll keep us safe.
-Excerpt from The Program
This book finished where it started, seriously frustrating. You may think you know what that means. You don't. Or maybe you do...
If you didn't pick up on it from the overview The Program has a deep undercurrent of depression running through it. Having never dealt with depression I don't know what it is like to be suffocated by dark thoughts and emotions, to not have a reason to live anymore, but a lot of the characters feel that way. Suicide has become an epidemic and the world has come up with a cure "The Program". Funny thing is I think the solution is what is helping suicide numbers to increase. Imagine not being able to express yourself for fear of being turned in and having your memories erased. This forces you to keep everything in, not being able to tell anyone how you really feel. I suppose that would be enough to make you want to end it.
Our main character is Sloane. After the sudden, unexpected suicide of her brother Brady the only thing keeping her from falling apart is her boyfriend James and good friend Miller. After a series of events (none of which I really want to mention due to possible spoilers) it becomes impossible for Sloane to hide her emotions and it's not long before her parents ship her off to The Program. The ultimate betrayal.
I really loved the fact that the author took us through the program with Sloane. Some authors may have flashed forward past it but instead we are there with her as she shares her beloved memories and we're there when she realizes they have started to disappear. Suzanne develops a scary world where emotions are the enemy and you can't trust anyone, not even the people closest to you. I also feel like Suzanne shows us why it's best not to rely on someone else for our happiness. That we need to be able to find the strength inside of ourselves. The idea was well developed and Suzanne threw in some impressive twists keeping readers on their toes. There is something fishy about the program, I can't wait to find out what's going on.