Teenage suicide has become an epidemic. Where seventeen-year-old Sloane Barstow lives, The Program has been implemented to combat the disease. But everyone knows not to show even the slightest bit of emotion, for fear of being flagged and sent to The Program. Adults think The Program is a good thing, but Sloane and her peers know better. Enter The Program…and lose yourself. Everyone who comes out forgets everything about their past life. Sloane and her boyfriend, James, would rather die than enter The Program, but it’s becoming harder and harder to keep their pain hidden…
I have to be honest…I didn’t really have high expectations for The Program. I mean, the premise sounded okay, but really I just thought it would be depressing and yet another YA dystopian that blends in with the crowd. But then two of my book club friends read it and raved, so I tried to go in with a positive outlook. They were so right; The Program is really good.
I wouldn’t describe it as dystopian, actually. We talked about it and they said it was more futuristic but contemporary and I agree. There are futuristic elements, like suicide being an epidemic and the medicine used in The Program, but otherwise it feels contemporary. Having read it and thinking back, the word I would actually use to describe it is “sinister.” Well, one of the words anyways. Because let me tell you, The Program is creepy and terrifying. I mean, can you imagine being forced into having your memories erased? Then there’s the epidemic itself, where seemingly happy teens suddenly develop depression and kill themselves. This world is definitely dark.
Sloane has a lot of darkness inside her, too. She’s known tragedy and been affected by suicide. It’s both sad and hopeful seeing her and James try to keep each other together so they don’t have to go through The Program. They’re both fighters and that’s what I love about them. The situation seems hopeless, and they want to give up so many times, but they try to keep it together for each other. Also, there are plenty of sexy and sweet scenes between the two.
This book isn’t short on action. Each section builds in intensity and I was racing through the pages. I’m really into standalone novels right now (who has the time for more series?!), but after finishing this one, I really wanted the next book. This will definitely be a series I follow.
The Program is dark and full of action. You should pick this one up.
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher.