Review: The Program by Suzanne Young
The Program by Suzanne Young
April 30, 2013
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.
I am a huge fan of Suzanne Youngs so when I first heard about THE PROGRAM, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Another wild adventure to go on that would take me to places and to characters that I wouldn’t want to leave. I was delighted to receive an early copy, and I didn’t waste any time diving into the book. Upon finishing, I was in utter shock. This book is good. Suzanne will take readers to all new depths that you don’t want to go but also secretly crave to be. The subject of suicide is one of those subjects that few writers dare to venture into, but Suzanne exceeds with it in THE PROGRAM. I’m not going to lie–it’s heart wrenching and sometimes depressing in certain places. But all of that heartache serves to make readers fall even more in love with Suzanne’s words and the flawed yet charming characters she has created.
Sloane had me from page one. This girls life is far from perfect, yet the absolute love and adoration she feels for her boyfriend James is undeniable. These two were made for each other. If soul mates do exist, these two fit the description to a tee. However, love is no match for the deep depression that threatens to consume the teens at all times, especially when tragedy once again strikes close to them. The Program will find those who show any signs of depression; it’s just a matter of when they will bite. My heart ached for Sloane and how lost she felt throughout most of the book. Sloane is a fighter though, and she won’t let The Program take her down. If anyone is going to best them, it’s Sloane.
Readers all over are going to be swooning for James. He is hot, sweet, and his fierce love and devotion to Sloane is so dreamy. His intense personality is all-consuming. And yet behind that perfect persona that Sloane sees is an intensely flawed guy who just wants to love and be loved. He is just as susceptible to the depression as anyone is, no matter what Sloane wants to believe. I have to say that if Sloane wasn’t in the picture, I might have to take him for myself. But not really. Because these two are so madly in love that nothing can stop them, not me, not even The Program.
THE PROGRAM is special in that Sloane and James are already madly in love and together at the start of the novel, but that doesn’t mean that we have to miss out on some of their firsts that they had together. Suzanne lets us in on their love story bit by bit as the book progresses, showing us how their younger selves shaped who they have become by the time the book opens. Along with the revelations into their relationship, tidbits on The Program and the dark secrets it holds come to light. I was completely horrified at what I learned about it, just as Sloane was. On a lighter note, Suzanne introduces the light-hearted and hilarious Realm to bring some much-needed relief to the darkest moments. Realm definitely gives James a run for his money in the favorite character department. He’s just as complex as James, if not more so. I need more Realm!
If you love Suzanne Young’s books, THE PROGRAM may turn out to be your favorite of them all like it is for me. If you are new to Suzanne Young’s books though, THE PROGRAM is as good as anywhere to start. You’re going to fall completely in love with everything about this book. It’s got yummy boys, an intense and disturbing plot, and a protagonist to root for. What more could you ask for?