Teens + suicide epidemic = The Program
When suicides among teenagers continuously increases, the government – with the support of parents – created The Program. For Sloane The Program is a place that steals her friends’ memories and returns them as strangers because once you are in The Program, your sad memories are erased in an effort to keep teenagers from getting depressed. Sloan hides her feelings well, even though people watch her more closely than others since her brother committed suicide. There is one person who she can be honest with and that is her boyfriend James – her brother’s best friend. Together they grieve, they hide their true emotions from others, but soon the depression gets too strong for them and they are taken into The Program.
The book is divided into three parts: Before Sloane and James are taken into The Program, Sloane and James in The Program, and then once they are returned to their families. The plot takes a serious turn in the second part as Sloane tries to survive her time in The Program. Like an medical institution when the doctors believe the patients are a danger to themselves, certain restrictions apply. Sloan does find one friend – and one enemy. As she learns more about The Program she finds out there is a pill that will help you hold onto one memory even if in The Program. Unfortunately the one keeping this pill from her is only willing to give it to her after she gives in to his advances.
In the third part, and conclusion, Sloane and James are assimilated back into their lives outside of The Program. Only, like other patients, they do not remember a lot of their past. And most upsetting is James does not remember Sloane. There are a few more plot twists along the way, such as the true cause of The Program, but the remainder of the book is focused on whether James will get his memories back and remember his love for Sloan.
Other elements: drugs, sex, (obviously) depression and suicide
Best for ages 13 +
The Sequel: The Treatment