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.
I’ve been getting more and more into YA lit. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Suzanne Young’s blog, but I was hooked when I saw she lives in Tempe. It was my first local author discovery through social media, and her book sounded pretty promising. The book more than delivered, and I found myself falling in love with a book that I thought would essentially be a “popcorn” read.
Suicide has become an actual epidemic, and teenagers – with their roller coaster emotions and visceral reactions – are especially susceptible. Parents and authorities now find themselves as guardians over the nation’s future, and decisions now center on not just what’s best for their kids, but what is best for the country. If you have any interest in youth culture, psychology, public health, and/or government, definitely read this book. Young plays with some great questions about responsibility and accountability, freedom from versus freedom to, and the role of the government in public health and safety. Should you let your child, your student, the guy next door be himself? Because that’s the cost of The Program – the boy lives, but he’s different. He’s not himself. It’s teenage tabula rasa.
This book does have a love triangle. Kind of. It’s a unique take on something fairly common in YA lit, and as someone who doesn’t really go for the love triangle subplot I appreciated that this wasn’t the same “Who do I choose?” scenario.
Also, while I’m thinking of it – could someone do a mixed media mash-up of Heathers and The Program?! Teenage suicide: Don’t do it!