Book Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Author: Suzanne Young

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release date: April 30, 2013

Rating: 5 stars – I LOVED THIS TO PIECES!

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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 seems like my warnings just get darker and darker, eh? ^^

A riveting and captivating read that will keep you mesmerize from start to finish.

The Program follows seventeen year old Sloane. In her world, suicide has become an epidemic in teens. A single negative emotion like crying in public could get a person flagged. Teens fear the Program, where it’s facilities treat the depression, but erase memories and make a person empty. Sloane and her boyfriend, James, would rather die than let the Program take them.

This book was pos-it-tute-ly AMAZING! I loved it from beginning to end, practically devouring the pages. It was part of my Summer Lovin’ Read-a-Thon reads that I picked out and thoroughly enjoyed.

The story itself is original, set in our world in the far distant future. It’s sci-fi rather than dystopian. It mentions the use of pharmaceutical drugs, pills that could easily be taken to die, to relax, to forget. It was interesting because I’ve never read something quite like this.

Our main female character, Sloane, is so emotionally strong. I constantly kept telling myself that I could not live in her world because I am very emotional. I’d try to be strong as Sloane is, but eventually I’d break down. She handles it as best she can, only breaking down around James. He’s the only one who knows the turbulent feelings, aching to be unleashed. He’s the only one who she can be herself with, knowing that he would never betray her.

Sloane’s voice is powerful, honest, and heartbreaking. Her voice is what drives the story, it’s what made me keep on reading, not wanting to stop for a second. There’s something about the raw honesty in which the story is told that is enticing.

Then there is James. *cue swooning* I mention Mr. James Murphy here if he sounds vaguely familiar. James is a trouble maker, a reble, and very complicated. He’s also emotionally strong. He is Sloane’s rock and when he begins to crack, Sloane tries to do everything to bring him back to life. Even those that are strong fall prey to depression and that is symbolized in James. I really liked that Suzanne Young incorporated that in her novel because it shows that not only female characters can be weak, but also male characters. It’s not widely discussed or even shown in YA novels, and that’s something that set this book apart from all the previous that I read.

One of my favorite quotes describing James is from Sloane:

He’s tender and defenseless, as if every part of him is exposed. He’s not the asshole I thought he was, not even close. What I see is someone broken and fierce. Someone loyal and hardened. Someone who could belong to me completely, and me to him.

Sloane describes him to a perfect T and this after…well, after something major that happens that I can’t say because it will definitely give away SPOILERS 😉 But I loved it nonetheless ^^

The secondary characters shown in Miller, Lacey, and Realm were FANTASTIC. I loved them all and connected to each of them on a different level. I felt heartbroken for Miller and even mourned with him. Then there is Lacey, who is spoken of as hollow in the beginning, but when we met her she is anything but that. Lastly, there is Realm, a guy who has a secret and will do anything – even erase Sloane’s memories, to keep it hidden.

Very mysterious, isn’t it?

The last thing I want to touch base on is the reoccurring theme:

…true things are destined to repeat themselves.

I loved how things pre-program occurred after. It’s the idea of fate and destiny mingled within the story and how coincidences are never coincidental. This idea was nicely done and Suzanne gets definite brownie points! I can’t wait to see more of this play out in The Treatment, the sequel to The Program coming out next year! !!

So why should you read The Program? Because it is a riveting and captivating read that will keep you mesmerize from start to finish. I’ve quickly become a Suzanne Young fan and can’t wait to read some more of her work! If it wasn’t already obvious, I highly recommend this book!


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  1. ooo~ *adds to TBR list*



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