The Program - Suzanne Young

In this “gripping tale for lovers of dystopian romance” (Kirkus Reviews), 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.

 

This book moved too fast for it to feel realistic for me.

 

I have the attention span of a goldfish and 95% of books are too slow for me. This book, to the contrary, felt as though it needed more building in order to make the characters, their relationship, and their world believable.

 

There was definitely nothing that really stood out as being horrible about this book, but I simply couldn't buy into any of the relationships between characters. Sloane's parents especially seemed really dumb and careless.

 

I also didn't end up liking the premise at all. I was so anticipating reading about depression and suicide, but I really wasn't comfortable with how the topic was treated. Suicide is seen as an illness, a contagious illness. Not enough details were given to show if this was an evolved form of the depression we see in our world today or if it was a new disease entirely, but not even the main characters seemed to examine what the cause of the problem was.

 

It was honestly hard to see where this dystopia had really formed, also. From what I read, it seemed like the depression leading to suicide was occurring in people after someone close to them either committed suicide themselves or went into the program, but not until that exact point. And then it slammed them like a truck. Which isn't how depression really operates.

 

I didn't buy James and Sloane as a couple. I just didn't. Even as I read about Sloane's memories of them getting together, I didn't buy it. Especially when they start the whole 'meant-to-be' trope, I didn't buy it.

 

Kudos to the Pink Floyd references, but I didn't like this book half as much as I thought I would.