Book Review | The Program by Suzanne Young

Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 4:00 AM

Series: The Program # 1
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Pages: 408

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.

What if you couldn’t show any negative emotion at all?

In the world that 17 year old Sloane lives in, suicide has become an epidemic and it is also thought to be contagious.  So, when any teenager shows any negative emotion, it is construed as suicidal behaviors and they are flagged.  Once they get flagged it is a direct route to The Program.
The Program is a place that they send any teenager that shows ‘suicidal tendencies’.  The Program does seem to cure the ‘sickness’, but you are not the same person you were when you leave.  The Returners (people who come out of The Program) do have a higher survival rate but at what cost?  The Returners that Sloane encounters completely different than they used to be, they can’t remember who they were before or seemingly any relationships that they had prior to entering The Program.
Sloane and her friends are trying their best to appear normal in spite of the devastating losses that they have endured.  Sloane lost her brother, Brady to suicide and now her parents are watching her more closely in fear that she will be next and if she can’t keep her emotions in check, she has no doubt that her parents will send her to The Program.
The characters in the book are written so realistically.  I loved Sloane, I really felt a connection to her.  I think it was because she brought out my maternal side.  I honestly felt so sorry for her that I just wanted to jump into the book to protect her and tell her that everything would be ok.  I also really liked James; I loved his rebellious nature and his protectiveness.  I loved his relationship with Sloane, I was on their side from the beginning.
I don’t want to give anything away so I will just say that I’m on the fence with my feelings about Realm.  Hopefully, in the next book I will decide on whether or not he is trustworthy.
This story is amazing, it is written so beautifully that I felt like I was right there with Sloane.  If you’re looking for a book that will suck you in and keep you up way past your bedtime, then The Program is for you.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.



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  2. My sister loved this one as well! And I think she said the same thing about how realistic the characters are. The the review, Christy, and I definitely have a better grasp of the plot now.


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