I have to say, I was surprisingly pleased by The Program. I wasn’t sure it’d really be my thing, but I genuinely enjoyed the book. Young navigates the world of high school, home-life, and a captive facility deftly. The quick pace and honest tone of Young’s writing keeps readers turning pages, waiting to see what’s next for the main characters and their friends.
The Quick Catch-Up: In a dystopian America, not so far in the future (MTV and McDonald’s are still around :), depression and suicide have become an epidemic, which infects only teens. Desperate to lower the suicide rate and combat the epidemic, “The Program,” has been instituted in many schools and communities. When teens are “infected” with depression, they go into The Program for treatment and come out completely cured. The price? All of your memories. Sloane and her boyfriend James will do anything to avoid The Program, terrified of losing the memories which help to make them, well, them. Will their efforts be enough? Will their love be enough to overcome anything, even the mind wash of The Program?
So, as I mentioned, I really did enjoy The Program. Young’s book is fast paced and doesn’t fall into the trap of slowing down when Sloane (the narrator) speaks about emotions, or is medicated, or in treatment. Young hops between settings easily as well, and in a believable manner.
Sloane is a complex, compelling character and narrator, as well. Her emotions are poignant, her rebellion both desperate and determined and her love so tenderly and fiercely unbreakable. Young invests just as much in her secondary characters, making them just as powerful, heartfelt, and complex. Young also unfolds the stories of secondary characters such as Miller, Lacey, Realm, and James elegantly, not taking up time or making their stories awkward inserts, but unraveling their stories naturally, through the lens of Sloane’s memories. All of the characters are likable and unforgettable.
The Bottom Line: The Program is a good read, I’d definately add it to my TBR list and buy it or borrow it!