Series: The Program #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on April 30, 2013
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In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.
Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
It’s always a little scary reading a new book from one of your favorite authors. What if you don’t like it? That’s how I went into The Program. Suzanne Young has been one of my favorites for quite some time and I was nervous seeing as I hadn’t heard a whole lot about The Program. I’m very happy to say that I was not at all disappointed. In fact, The Program was actually better than I expected.
While The Program is classified as dystopian, it didn’t really read like one. I guess I’m used to dystopian books packed full of action like Divergent and The Hunger Games. Don’t expect that from The Program, but don’t worry you’ll still love it. The Program is a much more subtle book. There are very obvious hints at how society has changed but really, people are still the same. The only thing that’s really changed is how people handle things. Teen suicide has become an epidemic. It’s handled like a disease that must be treated. And the people that treat the disease aren’t exactly nice people. Instead of an evil government like in most dystopians, this time it’s the people who are trying to save your life that are actually ruining it. It’s a really unique story and one that you won’t find in any other book.
The emotional impact of The Program is huge. My emotions were all over the place while I read it. There were times when I laughed, times when I cried, and times when I wanted to scream and throw the book at the wall. The Program is split into three parts and each part of the book will toy with a different emotion; the third part in particular. Also, splitting the book up into three parts really made it read a lot faster. It was almost like three short books in one except that every section flows seamlessly into the next.
Now how can I not mention the characters? I’m really just going to focus on Sloane and James but they are definitely not the only characters who make an impact in this book. I just don’t want to spoil anything and I feel like if I mention anyone else, I just might. First, Sloane. Sloane is a freaking awesome character. She’s tough but vulnerable, brave but scared, smart yet dumb. She’s human. There isn’t a single part of her that isn’t easy to relate to. Even living in a dystopian society, she’s just like us. Then there’s James. James seemed a little too perfect at first but that didn’t stop me from loving him. However, readers quickly get to see that James is anything but perfect and that only made me like him more. Also, he and Sloane together were so dang cute. And I felt so torn up by everything that they had to go through. Every character in The Program stuck with me.
Overall, The Program is a must-read! Fans of Suzanne Young will adore this new addition to her books and if you’re not a fan, you will be.
What others have to say about The Program:
The Escapism Project’s review: “This book is perfect.”
Novel Novice’s review: “Offering a frightening look at our possible future, The Program by Suzanne Young is as thrilling as it is emotionally poignant.”
Book Revels’ review: “The Program is dark and full of action.”
Little Library Muse’s review: “I would recommend this book to readers that are looking for a dystopian book that’s emotionally twisted with a hint of mystery and romance.”