- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: James and Sloane are both lovely people, but the setting and tone is very, very grim, with most adults being useless or worse, and every sympathetic character getting put through the wringer, with very few moments of happiness to break up the Trauma Conga Line. And most of the people responsible for this hell get away with it. It ain't for everyone.
- Gut Punch: The book starts out pretty bleak, but when Miller dies, everything quickly goes to hell.
- The Woobie:
- All the teenagers. Imagine living under constant threat of having all your memories, even the good ones erased, if you show the slightest hint you're not perfectly happy...
- For that matter, the adults, in a way. Most of them, at least, seem to sincerely believe the Program is helping, and just don't want their kids to die.
YMMV / The Program