Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Program & The Treatment by Suzanne Young

It's not often I do a book review of two books instead of just one.  However, having just read both The Program and its sequel The Treatment I decided it might be more fitting to do one review for both books.
Even doing so, I will be careful in my wording as not to ruin the ending of either book, or let out the secrets.  So no worries, for those interested in reading them, this will not be a spoiler for either.

The Program had been on my reading list for quite a while, and I actually listened to the Audio version on this book.  However, when I finished I enjoyed it so much I didn't want to wait for the audio version to come out on The Treatment, so I just picked up the hard cover version to find out how the story ends.

Sloane and James are not only best friends, but are also in love and have been for quite some time.  The problem is, they live in a world and during a time where suicide has become an epidemic for teens under the age of 18.
Sloane witnessed her brother's suicide and thankfully James helped her get through it, and has helped hold her up ever since.
There are more problems than just living in a country riddled with suicide.  The biggest problem in Sloan and James eyes is The Program.

When suicide rates went up, humanity abandoned therapy and drug treatments and started placing kids in to a Program.  A program, that claims a 100% success rate.  However, once you enter the program there is no escape and no coming back the same.  Your memories are washed away, you will remember nothing but what The Program allows you to remember.  You come out of The Program a shell of your old self.  Once you are out, you are monitored.  Everything from who you can be friends with to what you wear and how you do your hair.  You remember none of your friends, loves and even at times family members are erased from your mind.  You become a clean slate for what The Program wants you to know.

Teens fear The Program, more than they fear catching the suicide epidemic itself.  Sloan and James are no different.  Their entire lives are spent pretending to be careful, from what they say, to facial expressions.  The Program has handlers watching teens constantly, looking for those who might be their next candidate for mind erasing.
So far Sloan and James have helped each other get through life, and they are close.  As soon as you turn 18, you are no longer The Program's concern.
One fateful day, the worst happens and then a downward spiral starts for James.  Sloan tries to hold them both together, but she isn't able to be there at every moment.  Eventually James is taken into The Program and it devastates Sloan.  She is bound and determined to get him back, some how, some way when he gets out.  However, Sloan is no match for The Program and eventually she is also taken away.

The Program is scary, frightening.  You can't escape it, and you can't figure out what is happening before it is too late.  Mind erasure and those at the program are nothing what they seem, and quite deceiving.  The minute you think you have it figured out, you don't because they have medications that just make you forget as they draw out all of your memories, especially the ones they want.
Sloan though is presented with something that is both cruel, tragic and hopeful at the same time.  The chance to keep one memory, just one small memory and she takes it, despite what she has to do to get it.

One thing about The Program, it may take all your memories but it does not change your personality.  It's also scary as you can't remember anything, and want both to know who you are, but know you can't yet still have to move on.  At the same time, wondering if you really even want to remember who you were, because everyone tells you how miserable you were or how you tried to kill yourself.

Fate has a funny way of working out, and Sloan and James find each other after The Program.  Things are different for both, they remember nothing, they know nothing of their fun and beautiful romance before. Intrigue and attraction win out.  That and their hatred of The Program.  Together they are a team of two, a team who is searching for a treatment, memories, safety or just escape.
Soon they find there are worst things than losing your memories, much much more frightening things than losing their memories.
Before long they have no choice but to discover what those things are, and run for escape, for love for a life...

The Program and The Treatment both take you on a very suspenseful ride.  Both books are fast paced, filled with great romance and gripping suspenseful action.  Well written books that will really make you think as much as the story will touch you, as the plot is something you really will find quite compelling.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started listening to The Program.  But it grabbed me early on and by the time I finished I was grateful to discover that it's sequel was already out.  I devoured the pages of The Treatment pretty fast!

These books are in the Young Adult genre, however like myself adults will enjoy them too.  There is a bit of bad language and non graphic situations dealing with sex.  So for those who enjoy a really clean read, I thought I would put that out there beforehand.  Overall, I really enjoyed these reads, and found both books to be really easy to get hooked on in the early chapters!

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