Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Saturday, May 17, 2014


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.

The Program by Suzanne Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 Mental Stars

Imagine a world where suicide is an epidemic. Where showing signs of depression could get you sent away, and you'd come back as only a shell of your former self. Where shedding even one tear could wipe away your entire past...

I've always had a fascination with mental illness and how it works. Sloane, lives in a world where anti-depressants have been banned, after her brother committed suicide she couldn't even mourn because that would've have gotten her flagged and sent away to The Program. The Program is the cure for suicide, an epidemic that seems to only be targeting teens. When you come back from the program you come back fresh and crisp, a brand new sparkling person. At least that's what the adults see.

For Sloane, going to The Program would be losing her entire life, it would mean losing the only boy she's ever loved. Suzanne Young, the author of this amazing book convinced me that the suicide epidemic was real and that The Program was something to be feared. The thing about this book is that yes it's a dystopian, but to be quite honest it reads like a thriller. The idea's never felt far fetched, as far as I'm concerned all the stuff that happened it this book could really happen.

Suicide is a behavioral contagion. It's old adage "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, then would you, too?" Apparently, the answer is yes.

I hope my review isn't fooling you into thinking this book was clinical because it really wasn't. I spent about 70% of this book in tears, shaking my head or just getting angry, because this book is about death and grief. It's heartbreaking and scary because imagine a society that isolates they're youth to the point where they are too scared to show emotion of any kind. Then there's the love story between, James and Sloane. I'll even go as far as saying it's an epic love story, that it knows no bounds, and never fades with time. Yes, I know it's corny but true. James is the sweetest, jerk you'll ever meet, he loves Sloane with all his heart, and I felt that from just reading the book.

"I think I'm in love with you," he whispers. "Is that crazy?"

His words strike my heart, and the ache that's been a constant in my chest goes away completely. I lick my lips and smile. "So crazy."

"Then I guess I love you madly."

This book is riddled with teen angst! It's not annoying, it's excruciating, it got so bad that at one point I asked myself, "Was I honestly ever this bad?" And to be quite honest, yes I was, I was probably worse.
Besides the teen angst, this book is incredibly depressing. Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, you find out that they can, they can get a lot worse. If you'd like to try dystopia, but don't want something to heavy then I think this would be the perfect book. Just be warned that it is a very emotional read.

FYI: Although this YA, it's more mature YA as there are sexual situations (view spoiler)

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