Author: Suzanne Young
Release: April 30th 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Mental Disease, YA
#1 in the Program duology
Sequel: The Treatment (#2)
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.
This book is boring. Ridiculously slow and boring, I'd even go so far as to say that even Twilight has more entertainment to offer than this mess.
I'll admit, in the beginning I thought I was off to a good start. The characters didn't seem too bad, the story seemed mildly interesting and there was still the bright hope that things will go uphill. Alas, downhill it went, so much that The Program broke the surface of the earth and spiraled straight down into hell.
Why? What happened? Well, for the first 40 pages, which was when I had the impression of "Hmm, okay, nice.", nothing happened. Which is no big deal, however, nothing starts happening until page, I don't even know anymore, 150? One thing happens, one thing that by this point is totally expected and predictable, and it goes back to being snail-paced. No, I take that back, even a snail moves faster. I was able to predict any plot twist and nothing was a surprise anymore, nor interesting in any way. Not to mention was the depression here portrayed so badly and wrongly I am not sure Young even knows the first thing about depression. I myself am no expert, but I do know that I suffer from bursts of mild depression from time to time and what Sloane feels is nothing like how I feel when I do fall into one of my "dark moods." Now you might argue that it's different for everyone, but Sloane didn't have any kinds of real symptoms for depression and the whole thing was ludicrous and laughable.
Which brings me to my next point, which is how unlikable these characters were. Sloane does not have any personality whatsoever, thinking she's a big girl for trying to resist, emphasis on trying, but really having no clue what to do and letting herself get pushed around. She does try to stand up for herself a couple times, I'll give her that, but any sympathy I might have had for her is crushed by her patheticalness and her constant screwing around with everyone. James is a dick for a lot of the story, while having no real character of his own as well; any other character trying to be its own, Lacey, Miller, or even the dead Brady — no success. The only character I ever came close to tolerating is Realm but even he fucks his shit up so badly it's frustrating.
The writing was mostly okay, even though there were so many ridiculous things I have read that I was close to abort trying to read this book to the end. I have never ever done that, no matter how bad, and the fact that this was such a close call is alarming. I did, however, skim a lot during the last 80 pages or so, because I could not take it anymore. Nope.
All in all, I honestly can't say with a straight face that this isn't nearly as bad as Fallen. Of course, Fallen still maintains its place as my least favorite book ever, but I think this is a close second even. I'm not quite sure yet, but it was really bad.