The Program

Suzanne Young, Author
Suzanne Young. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4424-4580-2
Paperback - 405 pages - 978-1-4424-4581-9
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4424-4582-6
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In Young's chilling and suspenseful story, teen suicide has spiked dramatically and been deemed a "behavioral contagion." Now students are watched closely and not allowed to mourn; if they exhibit the slightest signs of depression they are "flagged" and dragged (often literally) by "handlers" to the Program: six weeks of memory erasure followed by placement in a new school. Seventeen-year-old Sloane can't trust anyone with her true feelings except her boyfriend, James, who was with her when her older brother killed himself. When their best friend takes his own life, too, James is committed, followed by Sloane. Part two details Sloane's time in the Program, in which she's stripped of all control and her dignity, and the third section of the book follows her return to society. While Young's (A Want So Wicked) book is unrelentingly emotional and dark—qualities that sometimes threaten to overwhelm the story line—it confronts readers with questions about whether the past or the present defines a person, while makes a strong case for the value of all memories, good and bad. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Apr.)
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