In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.
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.
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.
This book is an amazing story with a fascinating premise. Technically, this book falls into the dystopian genre, yet it reads more like a contemporary novel. That was something that I loved about this book. Some dystopians seem rather far-fetched, but this wasn't that far-fetched, and that made the things that happened in this book even scarier. Events that happen in this book do happen currently. This book is basically a slightly more dystopian take on depression, suicide, and treatments for depression.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Sloane is a fantastic protagonist to read about. Living in the world that she does, she's been through a lot in the past few years, and it has taken its toll on her. She lost her brother to suicide, and her family had a hard time after that. Her parents worry about her because they don't want to lose another child. Sloane also lost her best friend, Lacey, to the The Program. Now, Lacey has finished The Program, but it has taken her memories from her, so she won't remember her friends. The threat of The Program looms over Sloane. She knows that if she lets her parents see any sign that she is depressed, they could get her sent there. She doesn't really think that The Program is some perfect cure, unlike many parents who wouldn't hesitate to send their children there to get rid of their depression.
The romance between Sloane and James in this book is done so well, and I really rooted for this couple to remain together through everything. At the beginning of the book, they already have an established relationship as a couple. Flashbacks show some parts of how their relationship actually began. James was Sloane's brother, Brady's, best friend before he started dating Sloane. Brady actually committed suicide before they were able to tell him about their relationship. Sloane and James have to hold each together after Brady dies. They can only be themselves and really show their emotions when they are together. They each understand what the other is going through.
I thought the portion of this book that actually took place in The Program was extremely interesting. During that section, as Sloane had her memories taken from her, the reader knew more about her past than she did. There were parts after The Program, too, when I'd hope she'd remember something to uncover her past, but the memories were already lost. The one thing that the last part of this book showed is that some things are destined to repeat themselves, even if they aren't remembered anymore.
If you like YA dystopian that reads like a contemporary, read this book.