This book blew my mind. The Program is based on the premise that teenage suicides have skyrocketed. It has become an epidemic. To solve the problem, the program was developed in school districts across the U.S., and Sloane and her boyfriend James live in one of these districts. The Program erases memories, leaving behind a shell of a person.
It was only a matter of pages before I got caught up in the raw emotions. I felt everything Sloane faced throughout the novel. I worried with her as she stressed about being watched. I panicked when James was taken away for treatment, and I felt a loss as Sloane herself was admitted into the Program. While she was there I kept thinking "No, no, no! Stop!" as she her memories were disappearing.
This book is not for children. It has some pretty graphic scenes; self-harm, characters poisoning themselves, drugs, and sexual assaults. One of the things I appreciated about the book was that Sloane and James have a sexual relationship, and while the book doesn't have an actual description of what they're doing, it's pretty obvious they are doing the deed. I love how Sloane stands up for their relationship when her councilor keeps telling her that James is a sexual predator, but Sloane tells her that he's not and that the sex is consensual and that they use protection. I feel you don't really see that in books nowadays.
This novel seemed very real, and I feel that is why I was so engaged. Parents sent their children to The Program because they didn't really have another choice; it was either send them to The Program or hope that they wouldn't try and kill themselves. Everyone in this story acted very real; the villains of the story have a real motive; they're making a lot of money off The Program, so they don't really care about their clients and how they feel about having their memories erased.
What really chilled me to the bone was thinking how far off are we from something like this happening? Let's hope they don't develop the medication to selectively erase out memories anytime soon.