Title: The Treatment (The Program, #2)
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 344 Pages
Published April 2014
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Summary: Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.” How do you stop an epidemic? Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go. Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose. Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?I purchased a copy of The Treatment and wasn't quite sure what to expect - I had read The Program awhile back, so I wasn't sure how confused I would be or how much I had forgotten about the entire story. But less than a chapter in, I already fell right back into place with the characters and knew everything that was happening.
So the story follows Sloane and James right after they break out of The Program, a nationwide system that is put in place to combat the rising suicide epidemic. But instead of using therapy to help people, The Program uses mind manipulation and memory wiping to control its patients. And now that Sloane and James have gotten away from them, armed with all of their terrible secrets, The Program is all different kinds of screwed, and they want them back.
I really enjoyed this book. The relationship between Sloane and James was my favorite part. I loved how much they love each other, and how they would be willing to risk everything for one another. Their romance was so adorable and swoon-worthy, even in their hardest moments, and I just adored every single second of it. They are definitely a couple that I will ship until the end of time.
You also met (and got reintroduced to) some other interesting characters that you grow attached to, like Dallas and Cas, two rebels trying to break people out of the program. They're both filled with wit and the skill to survive, and Dallas is filled with a lot of sass that provides a lot of comic relief even when the stakes are super high.
So, a lot of stuff goes on while Sloane and James are on the run with the rebels. There are tons of crazy plot twists in this book that will leave you reeling. You meet some new, important characters, get betrayed by a whole lot more, and experience a whole bunch of crazy stuff while the entire group is on the run from the Program. And the entire time I was reading, I just couldn't imagine living in a world where stuff like mind manipulation would be acceptable. I found the entire idea of The Program so frightening from the very start. And a suicide epidemic? I couldn't even imagine. But this series definitely brings mental health into a whole new light.
(Spoilers ahead to skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) One of the saddest parts of the book that totally shattered my heart was right before James and Sloane got taken away again, when they were saying their last goodbyes to one another and how they'd always find each other. It totally shattered my heart and I almost started crying for real. I just couldn't imagine a life where I would have to look into the boy I loved and realize that in a few hours I may wake up and forget him forever. Isn't that so crazy?
All in all, The Treatment was a fast-paced read filled with love and loss, perseverance and fighting for your life when you know just how wrong things can be. I have loved all of Suzanne Young's books so far (especially Hotel Ruby!) and I can't wait to get my hands on The Remedy, the prequel to this duology. Although I'm super said to see James and Sloane's story come to an end, even though I totally ship them and love them so much! Overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this series to anyone looking for something futuristic, refreshing and different to read. :-)