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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.
About 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, The Epidemic, The Adjustment, The Complication, A Need So Beautiful, and Hotel Ruby. You can visit her online at Suzanne-Young.Blogspot.com.
Read an Excerpt
THE AIR IN THE ROOM TASTES STERILE. THE LINGERING scent of bleach is mixing with the fresh white paint on the walls, and I wish my teacher would open the window to let in a breeze. But we’re on the third floor so the pane is sealed shut—just in case anyone gets the urge to jump.
I’m still staring at the paper on my desk when Kendra Phillips turns around in her seat, looking me over with her purple contacts. “You’re not done yet?”
I glance past her to make sure Mrs. Portman is distracted at the front of the room, and then I smile. “It’s far too early in the morning to properly psychoanalyze myself,” I whisper. “I’d almost rather learn about science.”
“Maybe a coffee spiked with QuikDeath would help you focus on the pain.”
My expression falters; just the mention of the poison enough to send my heart racing. I hold Kendra’s empty stare—a deadness behind it that even purple contacts can’t disguise. Her eyes are ringed with heavy circles from lack of sleep, and her face has thinned sharply. She’s exactly the kind of person who can get me in trouble, and yet I can’t look away.
I’ve known Kendra for years, but we’re not really friends, especially now. Not when she’s been acting depressed for close to a month. I try to avoid her, but today there’s something desperate about her that I can’t ignore. Something about the way her body seems to tremble even though she’s sitting still.
“God, don’t look so serious,” she says, lifting one bony shoulder. “I’m just kidding, Sloane. Oh, and hey,” she adds as if just remembering the real reason she turned to me in the first place. “Guess who I saw last night at the Wellness Center? Lacey Klamath.”
She leans forward as she tells me, but I’m struck silent. I had no idea that Lacey was back.
Just then the door opens with a loud click. I glance toward the front of the classroom and freeze, my breath catching in my throat. The day has just become significantly worse.
Two handlers with crisp white jackets and comb-smoothed hair stand in the doorway, their expressionless faces traveling over us as they seek someone out. When they start forward, I begin to wilt.
Kendra spins around in her seat, her back rigid and straight. “Not me,” she murmurs, her hands clasped tightly in front of her like she’s praying. “Please, not me.”
From her podium, Mrs. Portman begins her lesson as if there’s no interruption. As if people in white coats should be waltzing in during her speech on the kinetic theory of matter. It’s the second time the handlers have interrupted class this week.
The men separate to opposite sides of the classroom, their shoes tapping on the linoleum floor as they come closer. I look away, opting to watch the leaves fall from the trees outside the window instead. It’s October, but the summer has bled into fall, bathing us all in unexpected Oregon sunshine. I wish I could be anywhere else right now.
The footsteps stop, but I don’t acknowledge them. I can smell the handlers near me—antiseptic, like rubbing alcohol and Band-Aids. I don’t dare move.
“Kendra Phillips,” a voice says gently. “Can you please come with us?”
I hold back the sound that’s trying to escape from behind my lips, a combination of relief and sympathy. I refuse to look at Kendra, terrified that the handlers will notice me. Please don’t notice me.
“No,” Kendra says to them, her voice choked off. “I’m not sick.”
“Ms. Phillips,” the voice says again, and this time I have to look. The dark-haired handler leans to take Kendra by the elbow, guiding her from the chair. Kendra immediately lashes out, yanking her arm from his grasp as she tries to clamor over her desk.
Both men descend on her as Kendra thrashes and screams. She’s barely five feet, but she’s fighting hard—harder than the others. I feel the tension rolling off the rest of the class, all of us hoping for a quick resolution. Hoping that we’ll make it another day without getting flagged.
“I’m not sick!” Kendra yells, breaking from their hold once again.
Mrs. Portman finally stops her lesson as she looks on with a pained expression. The calm she tries to exude is fraying at the edges. Next to me a girl starts crying and I want to tell her to shut up, but I don’t want to attract attention. She’ll have to fend for herself.
The dark-haired handler wraps his arms around Kendra’s waist, lifting her off the floor as she kicks her legs out. A string of obscenities tears from her mouth as saliva leaks from the corners. Her face is red and wild, and all at once I think she’s sicker than we ever imagined. That the real Kendra is no longer in there, and maybe hasn’t been since her sister died.
My eyes well up at the thought, but I push it down. Down deep where I can keep all my feelings until later when there’s no one watching me.
The handler puts his palm over Kendra’s mouth, muffling her sounds as he whispers soothing things into her ear, continuing to work her bucking body toward the door. The other handler dashes ahead to hold it open.
Just then the man holding Kendra screams out and drops her, shaking his hand as if she bit him. Kendra jumps up to run and the handler lunges for her, his closed fist connecting with her face. The shot sends her into Mrs. Portman’s podium before knocking her to the ground. The teacher gasps as Kendra flops in front of her, but Mrs. Portman only backs away.
Kendra’s top lip is split wide open and leaking blood all over her gray sweater and the white floor. She barely has time to process what happened when the handler grabs her by the ankle and begins to drag her—caveman style—toward the exit. Kendra screams and begs. She tries to hold on to anything within her reach, but instead she’s leaving a trail of blood along the floor.
When they finally get to the doorway, she raises her purple eyes in my direction, reaching out a reddened hand to me. “Sloane!” she screams. And I stop breathing.
The handler pauses, glancing over his shoulder at me. I’ve never seen him here before today, but something about the way he’s watching me now makes my skin crawl, and I look down.
I don’t lift my head again until I hear the door shut. Kendra’s shouts are promptly cut off in the hallway, and I wonder momentarily if she was Tasered or injected with a sedative. Either way, I’m glad it’s over.
Around the room, there are several sniffles, but it’s mostly silent. Blood still covers the front of the room in streaks of crimson.
“Sloane?” the teacher asks, startling me. “I haven’t gotten your daily assessment yet.” Mrs. Portman starts toward the closet where she keeps the bucket and mop, and other than the high lilt of her voice, she has no noticeable reaction to Kendra being dragged from our class.
I swallow hard and apologize, moving to take my pencil from my backpack. As my teacher sloshes the bleach on the floor, choking us with the smell once again, I begin to shade in the appropriate ovals.
In the past day have you felt lonely or overwhelmed?
I stare down at the bright white paper, the same one that waits at our desk every morning. I want to crumple it into a ball and throw it across the room, scream for people to acknowledge what just happened to Kendra. Instead I take a deep breath and answer.
This isn’t true—we all feel lonely and overwhelmed. Sometimes I’m not sure there’s another way to feel. But I know the routine. I know what a wrong answer can do. Next question.
I fill in the rest of the ovals, pausing when I get to the last one, just like I do every time. Has anyone close to you ever committed suicide?
Marking that answer day after day nearly destroys me. But it’s the one question where I have to tell the truth. Because they already know the answer.
After signing my name at the bottom, I grab my paper with a shaky hand and walk up to Mrs. Portman’s desk, standing in the wet area where Kendra’s blood used to be. I try not to look down as I wait for my teacher to put away the cleaning products.
“Sorry,” I tell her again when she comes to take the sheet from me. I notice a small smudge of blood on her pale pink shirtsleeve, but don’t mention it.
She looks over my answers, and then nods, filing the paper in the attendance folder. I hurry back to my seat, listening to the tense silence. I wait for the sound of the door, the approaching footsteps. But after a long minute, my teacher clears her throat and goes back to her lesson on friction. Relieved, I close my eyes.
Teen suicide was declared a national epidemic—killing one in three teens—nearly four years ago. It always existed before that, but seemingly overnight handfuls of my peers were jumping off buildings, slitting their wrists—most without any known reason. Strangely enough, the rate of incidence among adults stayed about the same, adding to the mystery.
When the deaths first started increasing, there were all sorts of rumors. From defective childhood vaccines to pesticides in our food—people grasped for any excuse. The leading view says that the oversupply of antidepressants changed the chemical makeup of our generation, making us more susceptible to depression.
I don’t know what I believe anymore, and really, I try not to think about it. But the psychologists say that 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.
To fight the outbreak, our school district implemented the pilot run of The Program—a new philosophy in prevention. Among the five schools, students are monitored for changes in mood or behavior, flagged if a threat is determined. Anyone exhibiting suicidal tendencies is no longer referred to a psychologist. Instead, the handlers are called.
And then they come and take you.
Kendra Phillips will be gone for at least six weeks—six weeks spent in a facility where The Program will mess with her mind, take her memories. She’ll be force-fed pills and therapy until she doesn’t even know who she is anymore. After that they’ll ship her off to a small private school until graduation. A school designated for other returners, other empty souls.
My phone vibrates in my pocket and I let out a held breath. I don’t have to check to know what it means—James wants to meet. It’s the push I need to get through the rest of the period, the fact that he’s waiting for me. The fact that he’s always waiting for me.
• • •
As we file out of the classroom forty minutes later, I notice the dark-haired handler in the hallway, watching us. He seems to take extra time on me, but I try hard not to notice. Instead I keep my head down and walk quickly toward the gymnasium to find James.
I check over my shoulder to make sure no one is following me before turning down the stark white corridor with the metal double doors. It’s nearly impossible to trust anyone not to report you for suspicious behavior. Not even our parents—especially not our parents.
It was Lacey’s father who called The Program to tell them that she was unwell. So now James, Miller, and I do everything we can to keep up the front at home. Smiles and small talk equal well-balanced and healthy. I wouldn’t dare show my parents anything else. Not now.
But once I turn eighteen, The Program loses its hold on me. I won’t be a minor so they can no longer force me into treatment. Although my risk doesn’t technically lower, The Program is bound to the laws of the land. I’ll be an adult, and as an adult it’s my God-given right to off myself if I so please.
Unless the epidemic gets worse. Then who knows what they’ll do.
When I get to the gymnasium doors, I push on the cold metal bar and slip inside. It’s been years since this part of the building was used. The Program cut athletics immediately after taking over, claiming it added too much competitive stress to our fragile student population. Now this space is used for storage—unused desks piled in the corner, stacks of unneeded textbooks.
“Anyone see you?”
I jump and look at James as he stands in the cramped space underneath the folded bleachers. Our space. The emotionless armor I’ve been wearing weakens.
“No,” I whisper. James holds out his hand to me and I meet him in the shadows, pressing myself close to him. “It’s not a good day,” I murmur against his mouth.
“It rarely is.”
James and I have been together for over two years—since I was fifteen. But I’ve known him my entire life. He’d been best friends with my brother, Brady, before he killed himself.
I choke on the memory, like I’m drowning in it. I pull from James and bang the back of my head on the corner of the wooden bleacher above us. Wincing, I touch my scalp, but don’t cry. I wouldn’t dare cry at school.
“Let me see,” James says, reaching to rub his fingers over the spot. “You were probably protected by all this hair.” He grins and lets his hand glide into my dark curls, resting it protectively on the back of my neck. When I don’t return his smile, he pulls me closer. “Come here,” he whispers, sounding exhausted as he puts his arms around me.
I hug him, letting the images of Brady fade from my head, along with the picture of Lacey being dragged from her house by handlers. I slide my hand under the sleeve of James’s T-shirt and onto his bicep where his tattoos are.
The Program makes us anonymous, strips us of our right to mourn—because if we do, we can get flagged for appearing depressed. So James has found another way. On his right arm he’s keeping a list in permanent ink of those we’ve lost. Starting with Brady.
“I’m having bad thoughts,” I tell him.
“Then stop thinking,” he says simply.
“They took Kendra last period. It was horrible. And Lacey—”
“Stop thinking,” James says again, a little more forcefully.
I look up at him, the heaviness still in my chest as I meet his eyes. It’s hard to tell in the shadows, but James’s eyes are light blue, the sort of crystal blue that can make anyone stop with just a glance. He’s stunning that way.
“Kiss me instead,” he murmurs. I lean forward to press my lips to his, letting him have me in a way that only he can. A moment filled with sadness and hope. A bond of secrets and promises of forever.
It’s been two years since my brother died. Practically overnight, our lives were changed. We don’t know why Brady killed himself, why he abandoned us. But then again, no one knows what’s causing the epidemic—not even The Program.
Above us the bell for class rings, but neither James nor I react. Instead James’s tongue touches mine and he pulls me closer, deepening our kiss. Although dating is allowed, we try to keep our relationship low-key at school, at least when we can. The Program claims that forming healthy bonds keeps us emotionally strong, but then again, if it all goes horribly wrong, they can just make us forget. The Program can erase anything.
“I swiped my dad’s car keys,” James whispers between my lips. “What do you say we go skinny-dipping in the river after school?”
“How about you get naked and I’ll just watch?”
“Works for me.”
I laugh, and James gives me one more squeeze before taking his arms from around me. He pretends to fix my hair, really just messing it up more. “Better get to class,” he says finally. “And tell Miller he’s invited to watch me swim naked too.”
I back away, first kissing my fingers and then holding them up in a wave. James smiles.
He always knows what to say to me. How to make me feel normal. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have survived Brady’s death without him. In fact, I know I wouldn’t have.
After all, suicide is contagious.
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide to The Program By Suzanne Young Discussion Questions 1. What can you do to get help if you, or someone close to you, exhibits signs of depression? Who are safe, reliable people in your life whom you can turn to? 2. Sloane remarks, “I can’t believe they don’t understand. I wonder if it’s because adults would rather forget about their problems, the thought that ignorance is bliss.” Why do you think Sloane’s peers and their parents have very different attitudes toward the Program? How does each group, respectively, view the demand for, and methodology of, the Program? Why is there such a disconnect between the teenagers and their parents’ generation? 3. As Sloane and James reconnect, Sloane describes “emotions that are there, but without cause. Feelings that aren’t attached to memories and therefore meaningless.” To what extent are emotions tied to memory? How is memory anchored by emotions? 4. James and Sloane’s romantic relationship was founded on a strong friendship, of which Brady was once a part. At what point do you think their feelings transcended “just friends,” and became more than that? How do you account for this change in their feelings for each other? 5. Explain the logic behind the Program. Why did it come about? What practices did it use to “cure” patients? What is the reasoning behind these practices? 6. When do the adults in Sloane’s life lie to her? Were any of these lies justified? What differentiates white lies from harmful ones? 7. Revisit Sloane’s experience in Dr. Warren’s office. Describe your experience as a reader as you confronted this traumatic scene in the book. How were you feeling? What was going through your head? 8. How would you characterize the narrator’s perspective in this novel? Is Sloane a credible narrator? How do you corroborate her point of view, given what we learn about her damaged memory? 9. When did your suspicions about Realm’s identity arise? Looking back, what clues suggested Realm’s unique role in the Program? How did you feel about Realm, once you knew the truth? Could you trust him, in spite of it? 10. What is the significance behind the particular card game that Sloane, Realm, and other patients played together in the Leisure Room? Contrast Sloane’s experience playing it in the Program, to playing it with Brady and James. What does the game symbolize to you? How might Suzanne Young have used it as a vessel for social commentary? 11. Sloane feels profoundly drawn to Lacey, and then to James, following her treatment in the Program, despite the corruption of all prior memories she’d had of them. Have you ever experienced a similar “instant connection” with someone? What might be the sources of such magnetism between people? 12. Even though her memory was manipulated in the Program, what traits in Sloane remained fixed throughout? 13. How does this novel support or challenge the idea of destiny? 14. The Program has a powerful, cinematic quality to it. Choose a pivotal scene, and describe how you would stage it. What details would you include in the setting? Whom would you cast to represent the characters? What music would be playing on the soundtrack? 15. What, or who, is the decision-making force driving the Program? What governs the definitions of “normal” vs. “abnormal,” and “healthy” vs. “corrupted”? What do these terms mean to you? 16. How might rebels fight against the Program? Who would be a part of this resistance? What strategies or tools would be effective in their efforts? 17. Analyze the orange pill at the very end of The Program. What does it represent? What impact does its existence have on Sloane’s story? What impact might it have on the future of the Program, as you imagine it? 18. Explain the epilogue: What is happening? Who is Allison? Guide written by Catharine Prodromou, a teacher at the Alta Vista School in San Francisco, CA. This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
The Program is absolutely one of my favorite books. The story starts out with Sloane, who is dealing with the recent suicide of her brother and as the story progresses, we watch as she falls in love and deals with depression herself. But, not all is as it seems. You see the world she lives in is in a suicide epidemic. All teens are experiencing some sort of depression and are sent to The Program to help resolve depression, but come back with no memories of anything. Those in control of The Program are keeping a very close eye on them and also decide who is stable enough to continue living. Sloane thought she was hiding her depression very well, but now The Program is coming for her. Suzanne Young takes the truth of depression and suicide and shows it into a new light. She puts the reader in the shoes of a teens life in a very devastating reality. This book is a great read for anyone who loves Dystopian Future type stories.
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?
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
Amazing!!! I couldn't put it down. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm off to read the next book!
But it was very emotional and gripping with A cliffhanger end that made me start reading the next one... new mysteries come to light too.. gotta find out!
I absolutely LOVE this book. I am hard to please when it comes to how an author writes! I am so glad that I stumbled across this series!
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.
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.
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.
I bought this book on Saturday, read it on Sunday, and then bought two more books in the series which lasted until Monday evening. It's that good. I loved it. Suzanne Collins writes emotions extremely well. There were several times where I was so angry in response, or so upset, or so giddy that I had to throw the book down and go ramble to my friends before I could bear pick it up again. Her words flow, and she creates an internal dialogue that is just extremely relateable. Her books deal with fascinating topics-- not just the memory loss of the program, but intrigue and love and relationships that go far deeper than most cliche romances. What happens if two people were so strongly meant to belong together, and then they weren't? How does fate balance such a tear in what ought to be? And the memory loss itself is very, very well done. There are points where it's a bit predictable, but they're terrifying all the same-- because you know what's happening. There are no slip-ups where a character references something that they shouldn't know. There is just the awful, heart-aching gap when the reader knows, and the character never will know again. Plot isn't Collins' strong point, and there are some weak scenes and some conflicts that just feel repeated, but her beautiful, beautiful writing makes up for it entirely. If you're missing someone, if grief still plagues you, if there's a longing for something /more/, Collins' words will strike you hard. A good book.
A riveting adventure for young & older adults alike. Well written & good descriptions. Great vocabulary!
Enjoyed the characters and plot, interesting and kept me wondering what was going to happen next
Fianlly found a good book that is entertaining the whole way through and leaves you wanting more
I bought all the rest before even finishing chapter one
Good with.....drama and romance. Over all it was good. Spoiler nwxt. Each book is told from before or during the depression. Realm is a handler.
I loved this book I can't wait to read the next 3 books.
This book opened my eyes to how great books really can be. It took me on a great adventure, and the author does a great job of making you feel like you're with Sloane the entire time, and keeps you on the edge of you're seat. I love this book so much, and the next book too. The emotion in the book is so real. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a great adventure
I have mixed feelings about this book. I did like it — the premise was unique, that depression and suicide is an almost viral epidemic among teenagers and needs to be treated by reprogramming them. But, somehow, I didn’t love the book. Maybe the romance was too predictable? Not sure. It was definitely one of those formulaic bad boy/good girl romances. However, I did enjoy the world building of the dystopian future and the imagination of the epidemic and the story moved along. The teenagers were definitely the more well rounded characters and it frustrated me that the adults, while trying to prevent suicide in teens, did everything to promote it by not allowing anything but good feelings or off you go to get programmed. Anyone living under that kind of pressure would crack. It just felt like in their protection of kids the adults lost all common sense.