by Suzanne Young
In the not-too-distant future, suicide breaks out among teens around the world. Teens are literally killing themselves left and right.
In a panic to save the next generation, the government creates The Program. Each day, students fill out a survey to determine their mental state. Each day, handlers walk the schools and streets, looking for tell-tale signs of depression. Each day, parents and friends report people to The Program. And each day, those people are forcefully taken to be "cured" before they too submit to suicidal thoughts.
Sloane has every good reason to be sad but she's not allowed to show any of it. One tear and she'll be the next to go to The Program. People enter The Program as one person, but leave as someone completely blank. All of their memories are taken. All of their personalities are wiped. They are blank slates, no longer depressed but no longer themselves, either.
After Sloane's brother kills himself and her best friend is taken to The Program, Sloane knows that they are watching her. They are looking for a sign, a moment of weakness, anything that will justify taking her away. Sloane's only comfort and the only person she can trust is her boyfriend, James.
But when James succumbs to the thoughts, Sloane is truly alone and The Program is watching.
Final thoughts: Good dystopian novel with some interesting ideas. I've been seeing this on bookstore shelves for a while and kept thinking that I must have already purchased it and had it in my TBR pile because it's definitely up my alley. When I finally read it, I was not disappointed. It's realistic and dark with some chilling content and predictions of the future. Can suicide become contagious? Some of this also reminded me of Uglies mixed with a little Hunger Games and some 1984 for good measure. It was a good read but I'm not sure how much I want to read the sequels; this may be too dark a path for me.