Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young (@suzanne_young)
Published: April 30th, 2013
Series: Chantress #1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Simon Pulse
POV: 1st person
Rating: Tea Party
"In Sloane’s world, 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."
Highlights: A story where a suicide epidemic forces adults to take drastic measures to "fix" their children with The Program? This claustrophobic, futuristic world is kind of horrifying, but it's hard to look away once you start The Program. The relationship between Sloane and James is utterly endearing and genuine. I believe it when these two are together -- their connection, their feelings, all of it is very well written. Sloane's memories of her brother were sweet and sad. For a story set in a world that stifles emotions, Sloane's life is a whirlwind of emotion, and I felt every bit of it.
Lowlights: Realm, and the weak romance he had with Sloane. I felt a bit disconnected to Sloane's character, so nothing bad that happened to or around her ever made a lasting, meaningful impact on me. I had trouble connecting because Sloane seems to have no personality, and all I really know about her is that she loves James. I'm also curious to know more about how the suicide epidemic came about. It seems to me that teens that are committing suicide because all of the adults are forcing them to it, so I'm not sure if I buy into that aspect of the story.
Rating: Tea Party: Liked, 3+ out of 5. Despite the issues I had with this novel, I still really liked The Program. From what I've been able to gather, I seem to be in the minority with this book, since many people seemed to genuinely love it. So, if you're in any way curious, I say go for it!