I apologize that this is posting late. I goofed when setting the scheduler. :) Enjoy!
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.
Depression & suicide are very common among teenagers. The tough transitional years seem to have a magnified effect on this population in particular; so much so that a few select states are piloting The Program to combat this terrible affliction. If teens begin exhibiting signs of depression, they can be whisked off to the secluded facility that will assist in their recovery. After a few weeks they can be reintegrated into society with a totally new outlook on life.
Sloane & her group have had a tough few months. It all started when her brother Brady committed suicide. Soon after that others started to be put in The Program. Unfortunately, they person that came out on the other side was barely even a shell of the person they were before treatment. With things crumbling all around her, Sloane wonders if she & boyfriend James can really hold it together. They just have to make it to age 18 & they'll be free. But life isn't very kind and Sloane finds herself fighting her family & friends for her love & her life.
This was an incredible book! Seriously, I don't think I've enjoyed a science-fiction book this much in a while. The story was riveting because you really had no idea what to expect next. There were so many possibilities & so much potential for things to change in a heartbeat that I was constantly on the edge of my seat.
What stood out the most for me though was the timing of this book. Normally when you enter a story it's either before or after what we consider the "rising action," being the event or person who catapults the story forward. In The Program I felt like we were walking into the middle of the story, but in a good way. We didn't have to read through the uptick in teen suicide & The Program also isn't fully operational. This book is set in the testing phase & is catching on, so this is long before anyone can really analyze the outcomes of The Program.
Sloane & James are broken people, but in an understandable way. Since any sign of emotion can be grounds for admission for depression, there is no safe outlet. Even sports have been taken away in case the competition was too much to handle. All these things are still being sorted out, so watching teens struggle with their new existence is very moving and relateable.
As a science fiction book it held true to the science portion. We get to see the inner workings of parts of The Program that are based in the neurological control of its victims. This is chemical brainwashing for the betterment of society. I could see this being the stepping stone for a society that eventually tries to control all emotions. It could relate to any number of other books or movies where the governing entity tries to control the responses of the population "for their own safety."
Even better are the "what if" scenarios that dance around in your mind. Would we really do this to our own teenagers? How can Sloane make it out of this situation? Is there any hope of survival? The moral compass is spinning out of control in this book & there is little hope of getting it back on track. Luckily this was the first in a series, so we'll see where the story goes in the next installment.
On to the fun part! This week I'm giving away a copy of Solid by Shelley Workinger. Remember that you must be at least 13 years old & have a US mailing address in order to enter. The giveaway will close on Friday, August 2. Good luck!