Series: Program #1
Published by: Simon Pulse on April 30, 2013
Genre: Dystopian, Mystery, Young Adult
Buy the Book • Goodreads
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.
Wowie, The Program book was awesome! Even though the synopsis hints at a love story, I didn’t expect it to dominate the book the way it did. I think I expected more of a sci-fi than a romance, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out otherwise! This love story completely rocks. Imagine soul mates, destiny, “meant to be”, love that knows no bounds.. but all without being cheesy.
The Program is completely effortless. I feel like it deals with so many intense topics, but without shoving it in your face. It just glides across the page flawlessly so you can soak it all in.
The first half of this story is completely heartbreaking. Just imagine: your brother commits suicide, your best friend forgets who you are, your other best friend commits suicide, left and right your friends from school have their memories wiped… and you know that you’re next. Sloan and James are an adorable, super sweet couple, but they’re on The Program’s radar. If The Program takes them in, their memories will be wiped and they’ll forget about their relationship and their love. They’re head over heels for each other and don’t want that taken away.. but they’re also grieving over all the deaths and they can’t hide from The Program.
I mean, holy crap. I didn’t even know how to approach a situation like that. I completely felt for Sloan. I was heartbroken right there with her. And she and James were such an adorable couple. James was kind of cocky and arrogant, but so insanely sweet. I LOVED him!
“I think I broke my femur,” James says, as he lies underneath me. “On the console when you were attacking me? I think I broke it.” I laugh. “Shut up.”
“I didn’t mind though,” he says conversationally. “Like when you bit my shoulder. It was—”
I reach up and put my hand over his mouth, not moving it even after he licks my fingers. “Shut up.” As if agreeing, he pulls me closer, resting his cheek on top of my head. When it’s quiet, I move my palm and rest it on his chest.
“It was nice,” he whispers, but not jokingly. “It wasn’t weird, either. And that’s… kind of weird.”
Then when I settled into the second half, the book started focusing on a different element: if your memory was wiped, would you fall in love with the same person all over again? Are some things meant to be? And if your memories were wiped, how would you piece together the fragments of your life? You would have to rely on what people tell you.. but can they be trusted? This book was a whirlwind of confusion, hope, betrayal, loss, and love.
We had so many secrets together and now they’re just mine. The weight of them is too heavy for me to carry.
My only gripe was with Realm. An almost love triangle develops between Sloan, James, and Realm, and Realm was kind of a creepy bastard. It wasn’t really a love triangle, but it sort of was. It’s hard to explain and I don’t want to get into spoilers. But yeah, Realm = odd and creepy. Stay away.
But overall this book was super strong. It brilliantly explores the idea of star-crossed lovers and fate, but without causing me to roll my eyes. Honestly, not a lot actually happens in it in terms of action and plot development, but it has so much emotion that I didn’t mind all that much. Just be prepared for an emotional love story rather than some hardcore plot stuff. But in the context of the book, I totally think it worked. The story wasn’t so complex that it needed a lot of plot or world building. A lot of it is experiencing Sloan’s memories, but they were so sweet, tender, and heartbreaking all at once. Even when not much was happening the book was still gripping! I’m eagerly awaiting book 2!
What I see is someone broken and fierce. Someone loyal and hardened. Someone who could belong to me completely, and me to him.