Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Program by Suzanne Young (review)

The Program (The Program, #1)The Program (1)

by Suzanne Young

Genre(s) Young Adult, Dystopian
 Pages: 405
Published: April 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Summary:  "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."

Review:   Suicide rates are higher than ever in the time period for this book. Seems mostly similar to current time but medical technology is higher and civilization control it tighter. Why? because 1 in 3 teens are offing themselves.

Right from the beginning the program annoys me in how high risks are decided. I see why people are concerned... But they are asked these daily questions such as "Are you overwhelmed or lonely?" Who isn't, once in a while at least, 1 of those things. Ugh...they need a better set of standards to filter people. You can't cry in public that is bad. If you know someone who died that is bad and if you dare contact with someone just out of The Program, WATCH OUT!

The Program is there to take away teens that an adult considers a suicide risk (see the paragraph above for what can quickly get you there). The take you in and six weeks later you are re-introduced to society, happier than ever. Sounds good, right? Except for one major catch. The Program strips you of many of your memories. So students return not knowing their classmates and friends.

Sloane has had one of her good friends taken away. Not she only has 2 left. One of them is her steady boyfriend James. But when she losses them what happens to her? You got it...into The Program. For this I hate her mother. I understand not wanting to lose your daughter but just because others are gone does not okay what she does. I can't say too much without spoiling things so I will leave it off there.

Now I get that suicide is bad. I get wanting to get it under control but there is one thing that is in this book adults seem to have no control over. QuikDeath. A drink you take that will kill you in minutes.Why don't adults work harder to get rid of something students can buy (even at school) that can easily kill them? The lock windows and ask you questionnaires and have you living in constant anxiety but can't work to remove a drink or get better control of it?!

In the program Sloane is harassed be a scumy handler, moniterd by nursed, questioned by therapists and makes a few new friends. But the ultimate questions are what is going on and who is being honest with her and does she have any hope of remembering when all is said and done...

This book was emotionally hard for me at times. Having to deal with a loved one with amnesia once. It is beyond a horrible feeling to look at one you care for and see a totally blank stare and know they have no idea who you are to them. I think this alone could break a person. No wonder suicide is one the rise! if you don't lose someone to death, you lose them in your life and you always need to wear an emotional mask in case adults begin to wonder if it is your turn.

Sloane is actually a very strong character. I feel so bad for all she has to endure. There were many times I was cheering her on, others biting my fingernails out of worry and others smacking the book for her reactions or lack thereof or those moments she is too naive for her own good.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It hits on levels of adult and government control, fear, love, loss and so much more. Lots of depth. Suzanne Young did an amazing job in getting me to empathize with Sloane. I will be sure to read the next book!


  1. I enjoyed this one, but I haven't read The Treatment yet. This one was definitely an emotional story, and I loved Sloane as a character! I am glad that you enjoyed. I am sorry that you had a hard time reading it because of your personal experience!

  2. I really want to reead this, despite seeing some mixed reviews. I saw it in the bookstore and I really liked the yellow cover, it stuck out to me. It does sound pretty unique. Hmm, might have to add to my TBR

  3. Great review. I liked this book and I felt it was smartly written, however I didn't care for the sequel.

  4. I'm not sure this is the book for me. I lost a niece to suicide a couple of years ago and the subject is not one I would want to read about in a book.

  5. I get this book recommended to me a lot but I haven't picked it up yet because I'm so tired of dystopian books now. I love the fact that it's a duology and there's great character building though. And the concept looks interesting. Great review.

  6. Mary DeBorde
    I've really been wanting to read this one... someone I knew tried to commit suicide in their middle teen years, very sad & traumatic event. Thankfully, they pulled through and are currently doing fine :)


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