Later this week, I plan on blogging about “The All Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion” which I mentioned in my last post, but I thought to kick things off I would discuss “The Program” which was the book I read just before starting this blog.
As most know, dystopian novels are all the rage in the past few years; The Hunger Games, The Matched series, Divergent and even The Giver made a comeback this past year. I think these books are so popular because they provide us with a way to distance ourselves from our reality. There is a lot of crap in the world- wars, politics, ISIS, hunger, AIDS, greed, abuse, divorce…. you get the picture. Dystopian novels offer a different way to look at the world. A new perspective. Not necessarily a better one. These books are far-fetched, but when we read them it’s a way to forget our problems.
When I bought “The Program” I wasn’t at Barnes and Noble to pick out the latest teen novel, really I have far too many books on my to be read list to be buying any at all (just ask my husband, literally stacks are waiting for me). But I saw the cover and was so drawn to it. Perhaps it was the shocking white with the bright yellow that caught my eye, but I had to pick it up just to check it out… I mean reading the back of the book wasn’t a crime, no one said I had to buy it…. *sigh* but then I read the back…..
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.
Well of course when I read that, I did in fact have to buy the book. I saw that word, suicide. And I thought, now that’s a different take on dystopia (really if I am being honest, this book is on the outskirts of dystopia, but it seemed to be the best group to place it.)
Sloane is very much a regular girl, extremely relatable and likable. She’s pretty without you hating her, and she’s had hardships in her life which make her all the more real. In other words, you’d want to be her friend. (spoiler alert) She is slowly losing her grasp on her life and being able to control what’s going on around her, being under 18 she doesn’t get to make the most important decisions for herself. She knows that they’re watching her because she lost her brother, then a friend was put in the program and her boyfriend, so it makes sense that being all alone with no one to talk to they would come for her. She and the other youths are terrified of the brainwashing from the program, the question she and her peers ask their parents when they bring up the program is “what if I’m with the person I am supposed to spend my life with and I don’t remember them when I get out.” It is a question that plays a large roll in this book, and it is what will keep you turning the page.
When placed in The Program she starts losing memories and trying like hell to keep a handle on the situation. She goes as far as taking “street drugs” to try and retain her memory. Once released into “normal” society she tries to make a new life, with people she’s never met before. Or maybe she had. She can’t remember. (End spoiler alert)
Suicide is a horrible reality, both in fiction and life, but what a clever novel this was. I enjoyed every page. I finished in two days. If dystopian novels or stories with a good fight are your thing, this is worth checking out. I will tell you though, it ends on a cliff hanger that will leave you wanting to rush out and get the next one. Lucky for us, it’s already been released 😉
Have any of you read “The Program”? Or have a view on dystopian novels? Comments are welcomed 🙂