Most recent dystopian novels occur in a future so distant it is almost unrecognizable. That’s not the case with Suzanne Young’s latest novel, The Remedy. This novel is a prequel to The Program and The Treatment and is set in a world that could be just months in our own future.
Quinlan McKee is seventeen years old, and she works as a closer – someone who is hired to provide closure for grieving families by impersonating their loved one who has passed away. In Quin’s world, mental health is extremely important, and if someone appears unstable, they are mandated to have therapy. Closers exist to help prevent depression and other issues that people face when a loved one dies. Shortly after finishing one assignment, Quin is assigned to an urgent case that changes her forever.
I found this book so fascinating for a number of reasons. Quin’s job is to help others preserve their mental health, but she faces problems of her own from the very beginning. As a closer, she adopts the personality, habits, and style of a deceased person, sometimes for days at a time. She began working as a closer at the age of seven, and as a side effect, she has a hard time distinguishing her past from those of the people she’s pretended to be. Throughout the book, she faces problems keeping her own identity separate. She suffers breakdowns and other truly terrifying side effects from constantly taking on and shedding other people’s lives.
I really enjoyed that the world was so familiar, but so different at the same time. The technology doesn’t seem outlandish, the landscape is familiar, and the characters seem like any person you might pass on the street. It’s almost like a parallel universe where the government has recognized the importance of mental health and taken things to extremes. There are systems in place to help people maintain peak mental and emotional health, but if people are depressed or have other problems, it seems like they are given consequences instead of help.
Fans of Young’s other books won’t find many familiar characters in the pages of The Remedy, but they will find a very similar tone and feeling of suspense. There are some great plot twists, and Young does a great job of keeping you on the hook by revealing little bits of information about Quin’s latest case without giving it all away at once.
For those who like a bit of a love story, this book will not disappoint. In fact, this book has something for everyone. From mystery to romance and everything in between, The Remedy is one of the best new dystopian novels you will read this year.