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The Program

The Program

For Ages: 14 and up
  • reading group guide
In this “gripping tale for lovers of dystopian romance” (Kirkus Reviews), true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

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.
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  • Simon Pulse | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442445819 | 
  • March 2014 | 
  • Grades 9 and up
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THE PROGRAM Book Trailer

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Hear an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

The Program
By Suzanne Young


Discussion Questions

1. What can you do to get help if you, or someone close to you, exhibits signs of depression? Who are safe, reliable people in your life whom you can turn to?

2. Sloane remarks, “I can’t believe they don’t understand. I wonder if it’s because adults would rather forget about their problems, the thought that ignorance is bliss.” Why do you think Sloane’s peers and their parents have very different attitudes toward the Program? How does each group, respectively, view the demand for, and methodology of, the Program? Why is there such a disconnect between the teenagers and their parents’ generation?

3. As Sloane and James reconnect, Sloane describes “emotions that are there, but without cause. Feelings that aren’t attached to memories and therefore meaningless.” To what extent are emotions tied to memory? How is memory anchored by emotions?

4. James and Sloane’s romantic relationship was founded on a strong friendship, of which Brady was once a part. At what point do you think their feelings transcended “just friends,” and became more than that? How do you account for this change in their feelings for each other?

5. Explain the logic behind the Program. Why did it come about? What practices did it use to “ see more

About the Author

Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young currently lives in Tempe, Arizona, where she teaches high school English. When not writing obsessively, Suzanne can be found searching her own tragic memories for inspiration. She is the author of several books for teens, including The Program, The Treatment, A Need So Beautiful, and A Want So Wicked. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter at @Suzanne_Young, and visit Suzanne-Young.blogspot.com.

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