Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Program by Suzanne Young

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. (from GoodReads)

This book was really interesting. Part of me liked to see how a country would adapt to a high level of suicide in teenagers and then another part of me didn't like how depression and suicide was represented. Yes, it's one of those books.

I hate feeling conflicted but I enjoyed this book for the most part while finding other parts problematic. Everyone says that this book is too unrealistic which is true but only to an extent. While suicide isn't contagious the way the flu is, it can occur in clusters. It happened to a high school near me a few years ago where all these students started to commit suicide. Also the fear of going to The Program and having to put on a brave face all the time could be enough to send a lot of teenagers to that extreme. So the level of teens committing suicide is artificially elevated due to that fact. But now that I have a degree in psychology I don't like to see depression/suicidal tendencies represented in this way. I honestly forget what I specifically didn't like but there was something and I don't care enough about this novel to look it up.

I thought the parts where Sloane went through the Program were the most interesting, especially her relationship with Michael (he's referred to by his last name, but can't remember it!). I read this book a few weeks ago, which is why this review is horrible. Anyway, overall the book isn't too bad but if you're really sensitive to these issues you might want to skip it.

Rating: 6 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library

2013/Simon & Schuster/405 pages

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