Title: The Program by Suzanne Young
Genres: YA, Science Fiction/Dystopian, Romance
Published by: Simon Pulse (April 30th, 2013)
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 I Thought
What a page turner! The Program was one of those books that had been sitting in my TBR pile for a very long time. I had always been super intrigued by it, but for one reason or another, I just never bothered to pick it up. I finally decided to read it for the #ReadThemAllThon, and I am so glad I did!
I absolutely flew through this book. I read over half of The Program in one day, which is really good for me. At the time, I was reading another book as well, and once I picked up The Program I ended up completely putting my other book (which I was actually really enjoying too) on hold to solely read this one. I just had to know what happened next! I just found the storyline to be so unique. I loved that the book was split up into three parts as well; splitting it up really fit perfectly for this book.
I also really enjoyed the characters in this novel. Sloane was a great protagonist. While I liked Sloane and James’ relationship, I didn’t exactly love it. There’s nothing in particular that sticks out to me, but I just felt it to be a bit too…possessive? Unhealthy? I don’t know, there was just something I didn’t like. We’ll see how I feel after I’ve read the sequel. One of my favorite characters, however, was Michael Realm. I’m really quite curious to learn more about him, and see how things progress with him next.
I do feel like I should add, however, that this book could be quite triggering or bothersome to someone who suffers from depression. I know some people have been bothered by the way depression and suicide is portrayed in this book. Obviously mental illness is not contagious, and I don’t think it was every the author’s intention to imply that. That being said, you could really feel the emotions and hopelessness the characters felt in this book. Suicides also happen, although there is nothing graphic.
Overall, this was a super intense, fast-paced read. I cannot wait to read the sequel! I would recommend this book to those who love YA and dystopians. I do think this book would be better for a little bit older readers though, due to the subject matter. Also, while not graphic, there is quite a bit of sexual content in this book as well.