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The Program

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Overview

In this “gripping tale for lovers of dystopian romance” (Kirkus Reviews), 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 ...

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The Program (Program Series #1)

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Overview

In this “gripping tale for lovers of dystopian romance” (Kirkus Reviews), 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

With tragedy and sadness all around her, 17-year-old Sloane Barstow must remind herself constantly to control her emotions. If she doesn't, she too will be consigned to The Program, a place where memories are erased and young people are "cured." Suzanne Young's series starter takes teen readers into a dystopian world that somehow retain uncanny similarities to our own. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

Booklist
*STARRED REVIEW* "Readers will devour this fast-paced story that combines an intriguing premise, a sexy romance, and a shifting landscape of truth. With big questions still unanswered and promising twists, this first volume in a new series will leave readers primed for more."
BCCB
*STARRED REVIEW* "With this powerful psychological drama, Young contributes a unique, attention-worthy standout from the crowd of young adult dystopias."
The Horn Books
"The uncomfortable mix of the good intentions and horrific outcomes of The Program is chilling, and will likely haunt readers as a slightly-too-plausible path adults would choose to “save” their teens."
Publishers Weekly
In Young's chilling and suspenseful story, teen suicide has spiked dramatically and been deemed a "behavioral contagion." Now students are watched closely and not allowed to mourn; if they exhibit the slightest signs of depression they are "flagged" and dragged (often literally) by "handlers" to the Program: six weeks of memory erasure followed by placement in a new school. Seventeen-year-old Sloane can't trust anyone with her true feelings except her boyfriend, James, who was with her when her older brother killed himself. When their best friend takes his own life, too, James is committed, followed by Sloane. Part two details Sloane's time in the Program, in which she's stripped of all control and her dignity, and the third section of the book follows her return to society. While Young's (A Want So Wicked) book is unrelentingly emotional and dark—qualities that sometimes threaten to overwhelm the story line—it confronts readers with questions about whether the past or the present defines a person, while makes a strong case for the value of all memories, good and bad. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
Readers will devour this fast-paced story that combines an intriguing premise, a sexy romance, and a shifting landscape of truth. With big questions still unanswered and promising twists, this first volume in a new series will leave readers primed for more.
VOYA - Mary Ann Harlan
The Program is not what it first seems, although the Program is exactly what is appears to be. The novel, set in a dystopian future in which teen suicide has become an epidemic, is a love story. The Program is a therapy that erases unpleasant memories from "sick" teens, sending them home "empty," with no memories and unlikely to commit suicide. In the first part of the novel, Sloane and her boyfriend, James, fight their fears over the Program, desperately trying to maintain an illusion of happiness. When their friend Lacey returns with no memory and her boyfriend, Miller, commits suicide, they can no longer hold on. In the second part of the novel, Sloane fights to save her memories of James, with some unusual help from a fellow Program member, Realm. Realm, however, is not what he appears to be, and holding on is harder than Sloane imagined. The questions The Program asks and answers are: How strong are the ties that bind us? Can love conquer all? In the final section, the novel finally reveals itself as primarily a love story. The dystopian setting, the epidemic of suicide, and the adults willing to stand by—or actively hurt—teens under the guise of helping hide the strength of the love story until the end. While it is clear throughout the story that Sloane and James have a romantic bond, the darkness of the setting tempers the romance. This is an entertaining, and compelling read. Reviewer: Mary Ann Harlan
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Four years ago, teen suicide became an epidemic, affecting one in every three teens. To combat it, a school district in Oregon developed "The Program," where teens are treated for their depression by erasing their memories and secluding them from their peers. As an increasing number of her classmates are taken away for treatment, 17-year-old Sloane Barstow knows better than to show emotion to anyone other than her boyfriend, James, especially since her brother drowned himself two years earlier, leaving her parents constantly on edge. But when her friend commits suicide and James is taken away, Sloane begins to slip into a depression that forces her into The Program, where she is gradually stripped of all memories of James and her past. As she struggles to start over, she finds herself questioning the integrity of The Program and why she is inexplicably drawn to a troublemaker named James. The story is intriguing, and while a little slow at times, teens will find themselves racing to the finish to see what happens to Sloane and James. Young has created strong characters that readers will fall in love with and has developed a captivating world that will not soon be forgotten. Recommend this one to fans of Lauren Oliver's Delirium and Veronica Roth's Divergent (both HarperCollins, 2011).—Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
As a teen-suicide epidemic sweeps the nation, Sloane and her friends struggle with depression from which the only release is death or The Program. Every day the teens pretend that they're not "infected" in order to avoid being seized by The Program. This government-sanctioned treatment returns high schoolers to the community after stripping them of their memories and making them vacant versions of their former selves. With raw emotion, 17-year-old Sloane relates the story in three parts. In the first, Sloane and her boyfriend, James, cling to their intense love while their friends commit suicide or are taken away. There's nowhere to hide as Sloane and James try and fail to keep themselves from The Program. The stomach-churning second part follows Sloane in treatment, where her memories are plucked and her body violated, and her only friend is playing both sides. Finally, Sloane is re-introduced to her school and family. She retains one key memory, which leads her back to fear, pain and love. How this epidemic began and whether The Program is a sinister conspiracy is left unanswered, but despite weak worldbuilding and a bleak plot, Sloane's quest for survival and individuality is a tribute to the tenacity of the essential self. For lovers of dystopian romance, this gripping tale is a tormented look at identity and a dark trip down Lost-Memory Lane. (Dystopian romance. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442445819
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 17,729
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order. Suzanne is the author of The Program,The Treatment, The Remedy, and A Need So Beautiful. You can visit her online at Suzanne-Young.blogspot.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 89 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(62)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 28, 2013

    This book is brilliant!! Quick Critique Pros: The Program is a

    This book is brilliant!!

    Quick Critique

    Pros: The Program is a superbly written, gripping tale, full of raw emotion, strong world building, and exceptional character development. This is not your typical dystopian novel. I. NEED. MORE. NOW.




    Cons: There were two things that made me go, “Hmmm?” but neither were significant enough to me that I wanted to give it less than five stars.




    Overall: The Program is a MUST READ! Even if you don’t enjoy the dystopian genre, I think you’ll love this book. I rarely read a book twice. I don’t know why, it’s just not my thing. This book, though, I will definitely read again. In fact, I just finished reading it and could easily start it again right now.








    My Thoughts

    Sloane and James live in a world where suicide is an epidemic, where they have to fill out self-assessments daily in school, where they are constantly scrutinized by The Program. They can’t reveal any emotion that resembles sorrow or depression for fear of being flagged. People are dying all around them, or being taken into The Program, yet they must keep a smile on their faces, even in their own homes. Sloane and James are fortunate to have each other to lean on, to love, but how long can they keep up this pretense?




    Smiles and small talk equal well-balanced and healthy. I wouldn’t dare show my parents anything else. Not now.




    Sure, I can tell you this book is the best thing I’ve read in a long time, but I’ve heard that from others before, about other books, and it’s not always the case. I promise you, this time it’s true. My love for this book could potentially rival the love I have for my husband, my best friend of ten years. I was afraid I may not be able to read it in the remaining two days it was free on Pulseit, but I devoured this book as if it was my last meal. Kids? What kids? I don’t hear any kids. Hon, I know you just got home from work, but can you make dinner tonight? Oh, and fold the clothes from the dryer, too?




    The Program is told from Sloane’s POV, and her story will stir things inside your guts you didn’t know you were capable of feeling. The moment I finished page one I knew that I was in this until the end. The author has a way of telling a story that makes you feel like you are deep in it, right from the start. The amount of detail put into each character is impressive. Surprisingly, James had the most drastic character arc, which caused my jaw to drop several times. The changes his character went through were mind blowing. I was filled with compassion for Sloane and James’s situation, was terrified at the thought of either of them being flagged for The Program. My insides crumbled whenever I thought something bad might happen. This book ripped my heart out, then put it back in twisted fragments.




    I don’t know what I believe anymore, and really, I try not to think about it. But the psychologists say suicide is a behavioral contagion. It’s the old adage, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you, too?” Apparently the answer is yes.




    There were two things about this book that caused me to go, “Hmmm,” while reading The Program. The first is in regards to the writing. There were so many “sideways looks” I thought I might get whiplash. If I was playing a drinking game based on the amount of times the author wrote He looked sideways at me, or I gave him a sideways look, I would have been drunk by chapter four, and passed out on the floor by chapter seven. Either it stopped, or the story was so good I didn’t notice it anymore after that. I normally hate repetition, but this story gripped me so tightly I didn’t even care about it. The second issue has to do with the “treatment” at The Program. Based on what I learned, it seems impossible that the people who are forced to go through this would lose so much. It’s hard to explain without revealing too much, but there it is. Again, I overlooked it because this book was SOOOOO good.




    I recommend The Program to everyone, whether you enjoy dystopian novels or not. This is not the same recycled dystopian tale that we have grown accustomed to reading. The final few chapters left me with a craving I haven’t felt about a book before. I need more. I would trade a kidney for the next book if I could have it tonight.

    11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    The Program

    This was a fantastic book! Yes, a little inappropriate at times, but it was a brilliant topic to write about. It's something that is realistic, even though we think suicide becoming an unstoppable epidemic is never going to happen. I give The Program five stars!!!! :D

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2013

    Anonymous

    I believe the program was an amazing must read. It is about Sloanne who lives in a dystopia where suicide and depression become an epidemic. After suffering many losts Sloanne and her boyfriend James must stay strong or fear being flagged into the program.
    Although the book has not escalated as high as the Hunger Games or Divergent because it is still new, i believeafter a few months this book will become a bestseller. The book was not like your ordinary dystopia story and had so many plot twists and surprises i had know choice but to keep on reading.
    Recommended for ages 13-17 due to some more inappropiate scenes.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Plot spoilers

    Too many spoilers here revealing every detail of the story. Bn needs to limit the space on reviews so these long winded plot spoilers can no longer rewrite the book in their reviews. They ruin it for other readers. Please be considerate of other readers. We might like to read a book and be surprised by what we read, not have you tell us already. And before some smartaleck says dont read the long reviews....i dont. But when they go on and on and you have to scroll past miles of them, you usually see something that ruins the story.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Good grief

    When you realize you're reading something with plot spoilers you don't want to see, for the love of the deity of your choice, QUIT READING!! If you keep reading, then don't complain.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Looking at this gorgeous cover, who wouldn't want to pick up The

    Looking at this gorgeous cover, who wouldn't want to pick up The Program? After reading the synopsis, I just had to get my hands on it!! Simon and Schuster CA were kind enough to send a copy, so thank you again! Here, people aren't allowed to show any "sad" emotions whatsoever. If anyone shows sadness or slight depression, they are immediately "flagged" and put in a six week program called "The Program". In there, they are drowned with pills until they completely forget the sad memories and are completely brainwashed. Sound horrifying right? Exactly why Sloane and James know better than to express any emotions in public. Sloane and James and in love, and they are only able to express their true feelings in front of each other. When a tragic event happens with their best friend, James can't take it anymore. Sloane starts worrying for him, and tries to encourage him to look happy, but it just doesn't work. James gets flagged. Before anyone says I'm spoiling anything, it's pretty obvious from the cover that BOTH of them are going to get into The Program, so don't worry. Let me tell you, Sloane and James were amazing characters. They weren't like any cliche young couple, but their love really stood out for me, and felt real. I immediately loved both characters. Something about Suzanne Young's writing just makes you want to never stop reading, and that's exactly what happened to me. The plot never gets boring, and every chapter is literally full of pleasant surprises. I honestly don't know how to say anything without ruining the book for you guys, but some very unexpected things happen. What I loved most was that the characters felt whole. Suzanne Young was able to portray the character as a whole, and was able to show us all sides of her characters. It was interesting to see Sloane in her highest and lowest moments, and that just made me connect to her more. Every dystopian book needs great world building, and I'm glad to say that The Program did not disappoint! It totally felt like I was living in this suppressive society where I basically couldn't breathe. There were some points where I really felt chocked up and sometimes depressed. Bravo for Ms.Young for that.Am I excited to get my hands in the next book? YES! Like all dystopian books, this definitely ends in sort of a resistance group forming or etc, and I AM EXCITED! I just can't say how much I loved this book, because it was great. If any book stirs up so much emotion from me, it will immediately be in my favorites list. Fans of dystopians will enjoy this one very much. 

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Different but good

    I liked this book. The beginning not so much but it improved, it was a little depressing. The first half of the book was letting us see what the teenagers are experiencing with the 'epidemic' (suicide). It was sad to read about it how some of these kids caught it. It just reminded me of Eeyore. Here's a quote I actually found that kinda goes with the book (weird).

    Eeyore: End of the road... nothing to do... and no hope of things getting better. Sounds like Saturday night at my house.

    The middle is when they were in The Program. We read what they do to 'cure' the teenagers. The the last half of the book is about when they get out and how they kinda cope.

    Overall I think i did like it. I really like Sloane and James. I also liked Realm.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    This book is really one of the best I have read in a long time.

    This book is really one of the best I have read in a long time. I have never, I will repeat NEVER cried while reading a book, until I read this. The book takes the reader through an endless roller coaster of emotions, but that is just in part one of three. 
    Don't discount it because it is a dystopian novel and you are sick of them because this book is really different. Just when you think nothing worse can happen, it does. Relationships are hurt, people die, and most importantly the program will get you. While Sloane and James are typical teens by today's standards, but in this world run by teen suicide, they are a hazard to themselves. 
    The real question is, Is the Program preventing or causing suicide?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    this was a fantastic book! I got so into it, I give it five star

    this was a fantastic book! I got so into it, I give it five stars because its written very good and has a great storyline, I never wanted to put the book down! It made me cry, smile and laugh out loud!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2014

    Sincere & Suspenceful.

    I loved this book. Great quick read...Can't wait to start "The Treatment."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2014

    Make it a movie!

    I absolutly could not put this book down. I felt so much emotion while reading, i cried, i laughed, i was routing for sloane so badly! This book could be made into a brilliant movie if it gains popularity!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    Soooooooo gooooood

    This book was absolutly amazing! It makes you wonder if one day the plot could be real and everything in the book could happen. I could really relate to te emotions in the book ecause i often feel alone. Im a choir kid and im always trying ti get to h top and as a freshmen in choir i have a long way to go but im the best in e reshmen chor and im at the top. I can aso relate to the romance in the book because my pevious boyfriend moved away because of h dads job but the they moved back and everything felt normal but weir because we hadn't seen eachother in over a year. I cant wait for the next book to come out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    Amazing

    It was never slow paced and it kept me reading from the first page. The characters become a part of you and the writing makes you want to cry, smile, laugh, and rage. The storyline is great

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2013

    I have been excited for this book ever since I first laid eyes o

    I have been excited for this book ever since I first laid eyes on the cover. I didn't have to read the synopsis to know that this was one I was going to have to get my hands on. I am glad the hype I built for myself was not let down.

    This is dystopian, but it has some very thought provoking themes. Suicide as an epidemic? My first thought was "What the heck?" I loved the world that Young created for us. What if adults so desperate to save they young generation took everything that could cause any kind of pain from your memory? Your experiences are part of you, so in their attempt to cure you actually just took a piece and that was it. To me the idea really made me think.

    They teens are terrified to show emotions. They really can't or they will be taken to The Program. The soluton or so they say. How can a person not get depressed when you are not allowed to grieve or be sad? You can't trust anyone, not even your parents, because that is a one way ticket to The Program also. This is what our main character must face every day! This is her new normal.

    Our MC is one couldn't help but like. She tries to say strong and protect those left that she holds dear, but at the same time she had to deal with the losses she suffered in secret. She keeps going. She is determined. I also loved how much of a fighter she was. most would give up at some point but she keeps going until the end.

    This is a great new dystopian. It is a breath of fresh air in originality for a dystopian. The twist at the end was enough to make me want more. For all you dystopian lovers, this is one for you!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It's been while since I read a good dystopian fiction. I've fall

    It's been while since I read a good dystopian fiction. I've fallen into a New Adult hole recently and this was a pleasant break from that cycle. The concept of this book was very interesting to me. It's horrible to think of suicide as an epidemic, but it's certainly intriguing. I liked the characters almost immediately. The story sucked me in. Well done. Can't wait for the next installment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2013

    I gave The Program 4.5 out of 5 stars The Program is a Dystopia

    I gave The Program 4.5 out of 5 stars

    The Program is a Dystopian Young Adult novel, written by Suzanne Young. The world she has created is incredibly dark and bleak. Where teen suicide has become an epidemic and the only way to keep kids alive, is to send them to The Program if they are showing any signs of depression, self-harm or suicide.

    Sloane, a young teenage girl has witnessed her brother's suicide and is unable to grieve, knowing that any amount of instability will get her sent into The Program. She struggles on a daily basis, watching as those she loves are taken away, commit suicide and betray her. Constantly, I found myself turning the page wondering what would happen next and who Sloane could ever truly trust.

    Young's Dystopian world is filled with questions from the moment you start reading until the very last page. Some are answered but many are not, making you wonder exactly what is going on in the world - not just in their community. The Program is a constant page turner, leaving you always wondering what will happen to Sloane and James. I would recommend this book for mature older teens, as it deals with some very dark subject matter including sexual abuse, self-harm and teen suicide.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

        Brilliant! I was not expecting it to pack such an emotional

        Brilliant! I was not expecting it to pack such an emotional punch, but man, did it ever. It is so chilling to think about a teenage epidemic of suicide! My father did it back in October, so I know all too well the ramifications of family and friends left behind. Suzanne did such a good job portraying that. 
       The twist-- Sloane (the main character) and the other teens in this chilling world are being monitored for any signs of depression so they can't outwardly express their grief. I can only imagine not being able to cry for fear of losing all my memories. 
        Because that is what happens to the teens who are deemed at risk of suicide. They are sent through the program, and while it erases the depression it also erases all memories from their life before. So, I can't decide which they mourn more, the ones who are gone through suicide or their friends or boy/girl friends that have gone through the program but don't remember them anymore. So sad!
        The dynamic of the characters was so well written and layered. Sloane and her boyfriend James used to run around with Lacey (taken into the program) and her boyfriend Miller. But James used to be a close friend of Sloane's brother Brady. So there is so much complex history and emotions driving their interactions.
        One of the scenes that really got to me was when Sloane injured herself just so she would be free to cry because she missed her brother who died and her best friend Lacey who just came out of the program and didn't remember Sloane or her boyfriend Miller. 
        I adored the romance in this one. James and Sloane and their dynamic had me right away. I loved how they looked out for each other and provided the strength for the other when they were falling apart a bit, and glued them right back together. James is devoted and I was swooning all over him. Their teasing, banter, and loyalty had me cheering for them. 
        Each part of this book hooked me in even more, and made me realize how much I liked Sloane's character. There are new characters that I didn't know whether to trust, and even by the end of the book I have no idea what their angle is on everything, and how this person will play into things in the next part. 
        I love the line that if it is meant to be, it will happen. The first time I heard it I rolled my eyes, but I love how that is a theme, and the people that show up to prove that right, and things that happen more than once. I know that is vague, but I think that once you read it, you'll understand what I am talking about. It is so hard to review a book like this sometimes because so much happens that I want to talk about but, I also don't want to spoil anything. So I try to talk about what you can figure out from the synopsis or within the first couple of chapters. 
        The pacing was amazing, and kept me in suspense waiting for the next bit of action, or seeing how the characters are growing. I loved this first book and will definitely be continuing this series. 




    Bottom Line: Intense and emotional. I connected with Sloane and swooned over James.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2014

    I absolutely loved this book. I got so hooked into the story lin

    I absolutely loved this book. I got so hooked into the story line. The love between James and Sloane is addicting to read. So disappointing when I finished the book but, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves dystopian, romance and action.

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  • Posted November 21, 2014

    This book is phenomenal. This is a must read.

    This book is phenomenal. This is a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2014

    Amazing!

    I Finished this book in 4 day it was truly amazing. I could not put it down at all!! Make a Movie!.

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