Book Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

the program


Teen suicide is an epidemic that has swept all areas of the world. The only solution that has worked thus far is the Program. Sloane and James know better than to show their true feelings to anyone but each other, lest they be forced into the Program. But it’s getting harder and harder to hold on, and their pledge to stay out of the Program, and stay together, isn’t going as planned. Depression has spiraled into their lives, and the Program is upon them.

Oh my gosh, I love this book. It’s a dystopia science fiction, but it doesn’t give a clear indication of the time period, and it is a situation that could potentially happen in modern day society. The epidemic hits close to home, as it seems suicide is becoming a larger issue and plagues the minds of many, and it’s frightening and intriguing to think of it as an epidemic. Already, suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth, and the problem growing and developing into this isn’t a far stretch of the imagination.

Plus, it has the added excitement of being a love story, and not the usual kind found in young adult literature. Sloane and James are already together and have an established relationship, so there’s no obnoxious love triangle or the annoying honeymoon phase where all they can do is think about each other when there is obviously more pressing issues at hand. They are two teens who need and love one another in a time of trouble and instability. They depend upon their relationship to keep themselves from the grasps of depression.

The writing style is wonderfully suited to the plot. The suspense is unnerving. I read one section three times because it’s just so emotional and tense and exciting. I felt so connected to the characters and everything they went through pained me as much as them. Suzanne Young captures the raw emotions and darkening depression that are happening to them partly due to the inability to cry or show their true feelings because the Program may snatch them up. While I was reading (which only lasted a couple days), my nerves were high and my entire body was clenched with fear.

The book is so frustrating and rip-your-hair-out fantastic. I can’t even begin to explain the roller-coaster of relief/anger/sadness/love/fear/giddiness/horror/anything else imaginable I felt.

Remember that part I read over and over again? Yeah, well, I definitely teared up (and I never cry during books, so this is a big deal) and I physically had to put the book down because I was so emotional. Then I picked it up, read the part over, and had to put it down again. Complete craziness.

I especially loved that the characters weren’t exempt from the Program. Usually, a seemingly “normal” and “completely ordinary” girl/boy would have somehow resisted the Program’s brainwashing or slipped out of their fingers in order to save other teens and create a better solution and save the world and become heroes and blah blah blah. But, Sloane and James were actually normal and ordinary and had the same fate as the other teens who may have been just as strong or smart or whatever. This factor made the book all the more real and heartbreaking.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book: the cover. The cover is so ugly. The outside cover is alright, I hate real people on covers, but I can forgive it because their backs are turned and it’s kind of cute how they’re standing with their hands held. But the inside cover is awful.



First of all, it’s strange the hardback has anything of significance on it. Usually it may just be a solid color and a simple design. But, no. Their faces are there staring at you. I’ll give them props for keeping the character traits because the descriptions match perfectly to these people, but come on. It’s creepy!!

But, anyway I can definitely look over the cover, especially on a book this awesome. I haven’t felt this much emotion in a book in a while, and it’s refreshing to know I haven’t read enough to be calloused to great books. I don’t want to always nitpick and find things wrong with books, I want to appreciate them for what they are. And I love this book and all the emotions it put me through! It’s by far the best dystopian young adult novel I’ve read, and I already have The Treatment on hold at the library!

5 Stars


4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

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