Published April 30th 2013 by SimonPulse
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 I liked least about this book was the worldbuilding. Teen suicide has become an epidemic, with one in three teens attempting to take their own lives - but no one has any clue why. For equally inexplicable reasons, traditional treatment methods, like therapy and anti-depressants, have been completely abandoned. To me, this made no sense.
What I liked most about this book was the relationship between Sloane and James. They were an established couple at the beginning of the book, which I preferred to the insta-love that seems so common in YA. I also liked the way Suzanne Young wrote the relationship. Sloane and James had a comfortable dynamic and a friendship beneath their romance. I'm not sure I really agreed with the idea that love can persist through memory loss, but I was definitely rooting for this couple.
Something that I hope is addressed in the next book is a question Sloane posed early on which was never answered. She wondered if she and her friends would even be depressed without the threat of the program looming over them. I found this line of thought compelling, and wish it would have been explored.
In spite of my worldbuilding greivances, The Program was a compelling read, and it gets a rating of 4 out of 5 from me.