- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Publication date: 4/30/2013
- Read by: Joy Osmanski
- Source: Digital audio provided by the publisher for review
Includes a bonus interview with the author! 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.
A book about a suicide epidemic? Sounded super interesting to me!! I was intrigued. I wanted to know what happened. What is making people want to commit suicide? What do they do to the in The Program to erase their memories? I needed this book!! Unfortunately, it wasn't really as good as I was hoping. While I still enjoyed it, there were just a lot of things that didn't work for me.
Sloan is the main character and she was a character who I liked, despite some things that bothered me about her. I really loved how passionate she was and refused to let the program win. She was a mess of emotions and pretty all over the place, but somehow, she still manages to keep her head. Even with everything that happens and she's not sure she even knows herself. What I didn't like about her was her obsession with James and him being almost her only thought so often. I get that she loves him, but it's like everything she does is for him and about him and it got old very quickly. She was definitely a feisty chick and really determined though, and I liked that a lot about her.
There is a bit of a love triangle in this, but it was one that I actually didn't mind since it made sense. Of course James is the love of her life, but things aren't quite so clear after The Program is involved. I loved James and thought he was fantastic. He is caring, sweet, funny, and totally in love with Sloan and it melted my heart. I wanted so much for them to be able to be together and for everything to work out. Then there's Relm (I have no clue if that's the right spelling since I listened to the audiobook) and I never really trusted him. He seems to really care about Sloan and want what he thinks is best for her, but there's a big difference between what is best for her in his eyes and in hers. I just never felt like he was right for her, but I could understand why Sloane was torn.
What I didn't like about this book was, we never really find out what has caused the epidemic and why. We really find out almost nothing at all about the actual illness itself. It's obvious that it's a way to erase people's memories and make them who they want them to be in a way. It's like they wipe you clean and mold you to their specifications. They have "handlers" follow you and watch you, but we still don't know why or how. I just hate not getting important information in a book. Basically we just go through everything with Sloane, find out a little inside info about some people who work for The Program, but that's it.
The audiobook of this was a bit iffy for me too. I liked the narrator for Sloane. I thought she did a good job with her. I could tell who was supposed to be talking by how she changed her voice for the characters, but I didn't think the male voices were that great. Also, it might not bother other people, but the over emphasis on the "h" in the "wh" words, especially "when". It just really stood out for me and was a little distracting. Overall the audio was good though, and I think that I would have rated the book the same even if I had read it instead of listening.
The premise of this book sounded really awesome, and I think it really could have been, but it just didn't feel like I got enough out of it. I liked getting to know the characters, and see their struggles. I thought Sloan was done really well, but with the lack of information I had a hard time really liking this as much as I wanted to. It might be dystopian burnout, or it might just be the book. It was good, but it didn't stand out among all the other dystopian books on the shelf.