Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Posted April 8th, 2014 in book review / 26 comments


The Program Series #1

by Suzanne Young

Publisher: Simon Pulse (April 2013)
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult
Format: eBook (405 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher (Edelweiss) for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)

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.

At A Glance
The love story was inspirational, but I wish the ending wasn’t so anti-climactic.

The Good
I have to admit, I am just not into dystopians lately. They are depressing me so much. So I have been taking a little break from them. But I wanted to read The Program before The Treatment came out which I will also be reviewing. I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by The Program. Sure, it was depressing, but the love story was so amazing. It just felt so genuine and real. It made it hard to put this book down.

Sloane was an average girl, which I liked. She wasn’t a hero or someone who had a plan. She just lived her life hiding her true emotions in the hopes of not being thrown into the program. As her friends start dropping like flies, she realizes all she has left is James to keep them safe. And when James starts showing signs of depression, and my effing heart sank. It was horrible. I could only imagine how alone and scared Sloane felt without her soulmate to get her through this horrible life. But even when Sloane is taken and ‘reprogramed,’ she always tried her best to remember. She didn’t let fear keep her away from the man she loved, no matter the risk.

I though James was going to be that solid ground Sloane needed to stay strong. I was shocked when he succumbed to ‘the sickness.’ But I also understood why he did. If I had to live the life he did, with my friends either killing themselves or being wiped clean like robots, I don’t think I could stay strong either. I loved that even when he is ‘cured’ he maintains his rebel ways and snarky attitude. James is just so freaking infuriating and amazing at the same time.

Side note: I HATED Realm!!!! I will be interested to see how he will be involved in the next book. I am not going to say anything else about him, I want you guys to decide for yourselves what kind of guy he is.

I am excited to continue this series. I want to know what is going to happen to our lovebirds. The writing was good and the concept was interesting. But, again, it’s the love story that got me.

The Bad
Even though this book kept me interested most of the time, there were times I just wanted to skip to the good parts. I knew what was coming and I didn’t want to wade through all the in-between stuff to get there. I think that was more my inpatients with dystopians in general right now than a problem with this book.

The ending was so freaking anti-climactic. Like, ridiculously so. It was also predictable. If not for this ending, this book would have been 4 stars.

The Snuggly
Sloane and James were the best part of the book. They have such a loving but realistic relationship. It’s not perfect, but it works because they have unrelenting love for one another. People try to tear them apart, make them forget each other, but they find their way back to each other. So heartwarming.

There is sex, but it’s not described so it’s appropriate for YA. I loved how the sex was just…normal. It wasn’t made to be a big deal and there was no taking of virginity. These are teenagers who had sex before, which is the norm now.

Final Thoughts
It wasn’t perfect but it was definitely enjoyable. The Program has some great characters that will keep you reading. I just hope The Treatment is even better. Recommended.

“You know I’m never going to be able to not kiss you again, right?” he said. “For the rest of my life, every time I look at you, I’ll have to kiss you.”  

“He’s tender and defenseless, as if every part of him is exposed. He’s not the a**hole 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.”  

“You’re right, you know,” he says. “You’re just right for me. And I’d bet my life that we’ve done this before. Because I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t have fallen in love with you the first time.”  

“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.”  

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26 Responses to “Review: The Program by Suzanne Young”

  1. Melanie

    Ugh, anti-climatic endings are the worst! I do enjoy love stories every now and again so I’ll keep this one in mind!

    Great review as always, Jennifer! <33

  2. Ashley

    If you thought this book was anti-climactic, just wait until you read the ending of the second book. 😛 Very disappointing X_X Also I agree that I DESPISED Realm!! And it annoyed me to no end that Sloane didn’t really despise him. Ugh. There are also some annoying parts with him in book 2…

    Great review!

  3. Livia @ Butterfly-o-Meter Books

    I’ve been curious about this novel since it came out, even though I tend to avoid dystopia. I mean, I enjoy some, but they’re generally too depressing for me, lol, despite me liking dark fantasy for instance or murder mysteries (or Dexter, haha). Dunno why dystopia is what depresses me most.

    Anyways, the Sloane / James romance will probably convince me to read it in the end, I think 😀
    Loved the review!

  4. Pabkins

    I’ve fallen out of love with dystopians too awhile ago. I have this one and I don’t know when I’ll get around to reading it. I think I can throw in a couple dystopians a year now but that huge push for them the last few years really burnt me out on them.

    And yes – why are they all so depressing. I get it that things have to be made challenging for the characters but they don’t have to be so dire. Wouldn’t it be neat to see a Utopian book instead that has dark deadly undercurrents?

  5. Julie S

    I’m with you, the story was really good, but the ending was kinda ok. Also, the audio narrator was not very emotional, so I felt like listening to this book really lost a lot of the impact of the deaths.

  6. Jaclyn Canada

    This is one of them that I was interested in when I saw it. I really like what you have to say about it though the ending is a downer. I really hope you enjoy the next one! I’m worried that the love story will have even more tribulations in that one as 2nd books are known to do. I love the quotes you chose 😀 Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

  7. Christy @ Love of Books

    Ah, see … I’ve been avoiding dystopians too, but the relationship between Sloane and James has me very interested. So I don’t know. The ending is obviously a turn-off though. I’m sure I will read this eventually no matter what.

  8. Jessica Haluska

    Dystopians! Dystopians everywhere! *snickers* I’m glad you were pleasantly surprised by this (even if the ending was anti-climactic). I’ll be waiting for your review of book 2 to see if I should add this to my list 😉

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  9. Mia Searles

    So, the couple are together from the start of the story? They don’t meet and then form a relationship? If so, that is pretty cool. May times in YA, we read about characters meeting for the first time and following their journey as they discover love together. But if this couple have been together since the beginning, then they already have a foundation. Hmm, I may just have to give this one a shot. And I totally feel ya. I just reviewed a biker romance over on my blog and it’s funny because out intros sound the same. I had to step away from the genre for awhile because I was getting burned out. Anyway, awesome review as always!

    Mia @ The Muses Circle

  10. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    Really glad you enjoyed the love-story – I’m a little hesitant to pick this up when the main plot revolves around the two characters and their love story, but the premise of “The Program” sounds pretty cool.

  11. Elisa

    Hmmm, I am on the fence. Sounds good, but I am kind of iffy about many books right now. I might want to wait 🙂 Great review though

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