The Program By Suzanne Young
The Program #1
Published April 30th 2013 by Simon Pulse
Summary: 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.
Review: The Program is so damn good. It’s funny how it was one of my most anticipated 2013 releases and it took me so long to get to it. I read this while I was on holiday and boy did I fly through it.
The Program is a dystopian novel, but it isn’t complicated. The writing is simple and because The Program is essentially a program to cure depression, there isn’t that much of a need for ‘world building’. Rather, it takes us into an interesting look at the facility that attempts to cure depression.
I really loved the premise. It was about curing depression through removing memories. It wasn’t realistic and it might be a little hard to buy but once you get into the book, it’s pretty easy to look past this. The book is written in the perspective of Sloane, and we get to see things first hand from pre-Program, during Program and post-Program.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book, especially when Sloane herself underwent The Program. I appreciated that although she wasn’t receptive of the treatment or she did put up a fight, The Program was bigger than her and that she couldn’t escape The Program. It sold the plot and the idea and I really liked that aspect of the book.
I really loved the relationship between Sloane and James. Their relationship wasn’t insta-love; they’ve been in love from the start of the book and their love for each other really showed throughout the book. I really did feel that there was nothing but true love (and it felt so real too) between the two, so I rooted for them.
Realm was a character that surprised me. I loved and hated him all at once. His presence brought a different dynamic to the story and when he messed with Sloane, he was tripping me up too! I thought he was a fantastic character, though I kept going why, why, why towards the end. He has his flaws but he did at some point mean well.
The Program is such a fantastic book and I can’t wait to read the sequel The Treatment. The cliffhanger at the end was just too much. You’re too much Suzanne Collins! Excellent read, highly recommended for all dystopian fans.