The Treatment: The Program, Book 2

Book review by
Joe Applegate, Common Sense Media
The Treatment: The Program, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Fast thriller turns into fairly tame adventure-romance.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Treatment takes place against on the fictional background of a suicide epidemic, but does not explain the real-life phenomenon in detail.

Positive Messages

To end a suicide epidemic among teens and young adults, the U.S. government sanctions a program to wipe out the memories of those at risk. The main characters' strength comes from their conviction that their memories, a source of identity, are worth fighting for.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pursued by an all-powerful government program that seeks to wipe out their memories, and betrayed by some of their peers, Sloane and her boyfriend, James, survive by remaining loyal to each other.

Violence

There is one non-fatal stabbing, and an adult gets knocked out by a blow to the head with a metal tray. A minor character's imprisoned for rape.

Sex

Sloane and her boyfriend frequently kiss and caress, and on three occasions intend to have sex, but the act is never explicit and is always placed in the context of marriage. 

Language

"S--t," "f--king," "d--k," and "a--hole" are used about a dozen times in total.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A scene takes place at a pop-up teen bar where beer and ecstasy are consumed. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Suzanne Young's The Treatment is a fairly tame adventure-romance set against a disturbing background: Teens and young adults are killing themselves, while an all-powerful government program has risen to halt the epidemic by wiping out the memories of anyone who begins to appear depressed. This sequel to The Program is built on the truth that memory is a source of great sadness, yet is fundamental for a healthy identity.  

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What's the story?

THE TREATMENT follows Sloane and her boyfriend, James, as they flee the government's massive effort to stop a teen suicide epidemic by wiping out the memories of anyone deemed at risk. Joining a network of other fugitive teens, Sloane and James find they can rely only on themselves and their promises to each other to fight for their identities. Sloane finds herself isolated in a treatment center being led toward a lobotomy when she risks everything to see James again.

Is it any good?

Concluding The Program, which presented a creepy world of rampant suicide and government intervention, The Treatment devolves into a classic romance with the heroine choosing between two admirers. Being on the run from a government effort to kill or lobotomize fugitive kids is rendered in paper-thin detail. When true love's never in doubt, the result may be uplifting, but not for long, no matter how fast the story unfolds.    

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about memories. Is there anything good about a sad one?

  • What's the best thing to do when you feel your saddest?

  • If there were a pill that would wipe out just one memory, would you take it?

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