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Monday, October 28, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: The Program by Suzanne Young

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: April 30 2013
Publishing House: Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781442445802
Source of Copy: Fully Booked


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 - and 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 promises they've 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.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


With the recent influx of dystopian novels, it's hard to find one that truly stands out. And while I'll admit that The Program does have an interesting concept, it was boring and I felt utterly disconnected from it.

Showing any sign of depression in public can toss you into The Program. A treatment facility that focuses on curing teens of depression, thus preventing suicide. A drawback to being tossed into The Program means that one loses his or her memories about the life they've lived. This basically means that patients end up becoming happy, content and utterly brain washed zombies. Sloane, having lost her brother to suicide, knows that she must be vigilant and must make sure that no one sees her crying or acting strangely in public. Recent circumstances make that a feat to accomplish and she's not sure how long she's going to last.

The Program is a love story in a dystopian setting. James and Sloane have a pre-existing relationship so we miss out on the tension and the excitement of their meeting and courtship - sort of. The flashbacks did help establish their bond and while adorable, somehow it just didn't do it for me. 

I don't exactly like this book, but I don't hate it either. It's depressing and really sad but all in all Sloane's time in The Program is like pretty standard to the genre. Fighting back against the system and all that. There were times wherein I wanted her to just give in because what's fighting going to do for her? She always gets doped up with drugs the only difference is how they enter her system - of her own free will or injected into her body forcefully. 

Secondary characters are just that. Secondary. There's not much insight into them and it would be interesting if the author would expound on their characters. But I'm not complaining. 

Basically The Program is just another okay book in the midst of a hundred plus YA dystopian novels out in the world today. Everything is clear cut and the bad guys are bad, the good guys are good and shades of grey are few and far between. While the concept is initially intriguing I'm afraid that this book isn't exactly something that I'll remember at the top of my head. 

The Program, I think, is right for those who are just easing themselves into the dystopian genre. 




  1. I liked The Program but the epilogue left me saying "what?" It confused me but I guess it will make sense when I read The Treatment.

    1. Initially, The Program was supposed to be a standalone and I guess I can see that somehow. It's not a bad book, but it's not exactly a great one either. Although I am interested in reading The Treatment.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. At first, I said to myself that I will not read this book. I mean, it's your typical dystopian novel and why waste time reading the same thing? But I read a review of a blogger. It really made me very curious since according to her this book was really depressing. She even stated in her review that she used 2 boxes of Kleenex because of this. I actually thought that this book will be more on action stuff, it didn't occur to my mind that this will be a depressing one. Maybe I should try reading this book. I might like it. :)

    1. I like dystopian books, but with so much books in this genre popping out it's not exactly easy to find one that stands out.

      The Program is kinda sad, I mean suicide is not something we should take lightly right? But to me it came off as more of a love story first and foremost and I suppose that's why I'm not too happy with the book. But yes, it's not a bad book and you may end up liking it. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I've heard some great things about this book, it's a shame you didn't like it that much. The whole premise sounds intriging and It's been at the top of my wishlist. But from reading your review - I may put off buying it for a little while! It doesn't mean I won't get it at all, but I'll probably just wait until it's much cheaper in price! xD
    Great review! :)

    Tiffa @ The British Book Nerd

    1. Hi there! The book's okay but it's definitely not a must-read. I hope you do enjoy it when you get around to buying it. I hoped I would like it but it fell short. I wasn't expecting something so focused on romance.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sounds good but I'm really tired of all the similar dystopian books cropping up.

    1. True! It's so hard to find a dystopia that doesn't just fade into the woodwork like all the ones I've come across.