This was so much better than I expected. I haven't heard much about this series, but the ebook was available from the library so I figured I'd check it out.
I am so glad that I did. This world was so crazy and intense. It reminded me of how I felt when I first started The Darkest Minds. I wondered how could things have gotten so bad that people would willingly subject their own children to this? I know that maybe they were able to convince themselves their children were better off empty shells of their former selves than dead. But it was so hard to see Sloane go through everything she went through in this book.
This whole epidemic business was seriously disturbing. I've found the most disturbing and upsetting series aren't necessarily the ones filled with violent deaths. This was a perfect example of that. And teen suicide was such a brave subject for the author attempt to tackle in a dystopian context. It's a very relevant, current, sad issue.
It isn't hard to imagine that in a future such as this wherein teen suicide has become an epidemic, something like The Program would seem like the perfect solution. But the lives these kids have to lead before or after The Program (if they have to go there at all) are so uncomfortable and unnatural. Yes depression and heartbreak can lead kids to do crazy things, but imagine being a teenager in a society where you can't even cry. Not even in front of your parents for fear that your mind will be wiped. You won't remember friends, boyfriends, or any other details that are deemed too upsetting for you. It was so hard to read because it was so easy the picture the world that was being described.
I liked Sloane's character for the most part. I thought she was a good combination of strong and vulnerable. I did not care for how she behaved in The Program. Especially her behavior toward Realm. I loved his character and empathized with him so much. The fact that she couldn't keep her shit together while she was in there knowing she'd be leaving soon was so frustrating. The way she treated Realm after her release was even worse.
Her relationship with James was adorable. This book at heart is a love story. If it weren't it wouldn't be as heart-wrenching as it is. The experiences that these two suffer through are incredibly sad. It was so hard to read their story, but it was so powerful.
I am so anxious and curious to see where this series will go. This was one of those books that I spent a large majority of the time thinking there is no possible escape for these characters. But we will see what happens next I suppose.