“Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.
Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.
Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.”
Thoughts on the Novel: The Remedy occurs before there are handlers and The Program. No one has even heard of an epidemic. For all intents and purposes, the portion of the world Quinn inhabits could easily occur in 2015. Yet, there is a focus on mental health that is disconcerting. Readers can only glean glimpses of the true changes to society such a hyperawareness brings. However, through Quinn’s justifications for her profession and her behavior, one gets a clear understanding that Quinn’s Portland is anything but idyllic.
In fact, there is something sinister about Quinn’s entire profession. Not that her work providing closure to grieving families is a horrible thing, but it is the underlying threat of what would befall her clients should she fail that is the most troublesome. What makes it worse is that there is never an overt threat stated, yet readers will have a instinctively know that nothing good comes to those who fail to recover properly after a closer is put on a case. The underlying tension creates a sense of dread within the reader. Combine that with plenty of unanswered questions as well as hints and clues to a larger mystery, and The Remedy is every bit as exciting and intense as The Program.
What makes this prequel so compelling is the ethical debates Quinn’s profession will arouse in readers. For, just as Quinn faces backlash from society for what she does, every reader will have strong opinions about the idea of a stranger essentially becoming the deceased for a few days or weeks. By the time the story ends, readers will find themselves fully engaged in Quinn’s story even if they are no closer to solving the ethical dilemma behind being a closer. Then again, by the time the reader hits that last sentence and a few more pieces click into place, that ethical dilemma takes on a whole new meaning.
Even though The Remedy consists of an entire new cast of characters, readers will experience the same sense of dread that they did with Ms. Young’s previous novels. This is an excellent thing as it is one of the reasons why those first two stories were so intense. In Quinn and the closer program, readers see the precursor to the Program and get more insight into the epidemic behind both. While one does not finish the story with all of the answers, readers are one step closer to that full picture. Plus, the ending is just brilliant. Fans of The Program and The Treatment can rest assured that The Remedy is an excellent addition to the storyline and well worth the read.