Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program (The Program #1)
Behind 405 Pages
Released: July 2013 (April 2014 Paperback)
Genre: Dystopian, Romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
At the Other End:
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.

Suzanne Young currently lives in Tempe, Arizona, where she teaches high school English. When not writing obsessively, Suzanne can be found searching her own tragic memories for inspiration. She is the author of several books for teens, including The Program, The Treatment, A Need So Beautiful, and A Want So Wicked.

Find Suzanne:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook
A frighteningly gripping novel from page one until the very end. THE PROGRAM left me infected.

Is it ironic that, after I finish THE PROGRAM, I literally felt depressed...

Not in a bad way, but in an amazingly numb way that I can’t believe that there are no more pages to turn, kind of way. This book had me from the very first sentence, I absolutely fell in love with it.

I am actually, very much in love with the blurb of this book. It gives away a little of the book, but it doesn’t destroy the book in the process, with things that we already know. We are left on edge, about what The Program actually is, as well as what they actually do, and how Sloane and James survive the ever-so-slowly appearing infection.

We go into the book, learning about her life, and the things that have happened that push her over the edge. We see Sloane’s struggle to hide herself everyday in front of those that she cares the most about, fearing the worst of them and what they will do. We see her slowly start to unravel, and fear what is going to happen next.

I absolutely love James, he is such a strong character. I love reading about their history, about how they started together and also sad at the circumstances that they are brought out.
There was hardly anything that I didn’t like about this book. I didn’t like the almost-weirdly-not love triangle. It’s hard to explain without spoiling the book, so I’ll just put more details on it below in the spoiler section.

I really think that this book needs a spoiler section, because of how perfect this blurb is. I know you’ve all probably read spoilers on this book already, but I will feel really guilty if I do include it without a spoiler warning.

*Rest of review is a spoiler*
Subtly stealing spoiler secret idea from The Notebook Sisters

Highlight below to read spoiler

When I started reading THE PROGRAM, I kept trying to think of how this book will go. I honestly didn’t think that Sloane would go into The Program and become infected! This completely tipped the scales for me, I kept thinking that she and James are going to run for it, or something! But no, I am completely taken by surprise when they both get taken into The Program and lose their memories.

Throughout the book, we see the innermost thoughts of Sloane, and we get to see how drastically her mind changes while she goes through The Program. Even though she tries to fight the system, she doesn’t even realize that she has lost.

I almost started fangirling when James comes back onto the scene after Sloane leaves The Program. It’s like their relationship started all over again, and it was magical to see their chemistry, as well as how hard it would be for them when their hearts start to take over and they feel scared because of it.

I honestly didn’t like Realm. From the very first sighting of Realm, I had a gut feeling that he was IN- IN The Program, and until the end, I didn’t really pay much attention to his friends until it was revealed that they were IN-IN The Program as well, that gave me a kind of shock, but nothing like what Realm does to Sloane in his room. This is kind of where the love-triangle comes into play. Realm, in my opinion, subtly forces Sloane to like him and tries to start something up between them that isn’t there, except for in his imagination. What makes it worse, is that Sloane is always kind of out-of-it, with her memory being wiped and her wanting so desperately to remember and forget the therapists, nurses and handlers of The Program, she gives into Realm (even though it is just a kiss) because she does kind-of feel sorry for him, seeing as he loves her, yet she doesn’t and can’t figure out why she feels so guilty when she kisses him. He is so fake, and even though I strongly dislike his character, he does have a few kind of redeeming sides to him, like helping Sloane and James at the end of the book. And surprisingly, I actually, kind-of, possibly, like the epilogue of the book with him in it.

Even though I desperately didn’t want this book to end, it was a fantastic ending. Sloane’s final chapter was brilliant, and I’m so happy that she didn’t take that pill. I’m hoping that she keeps the pill and gives it to the Rebels (in the hope that they have scientists/doctors) so they can see if they can make more and figure out if it’s the real deal.

I can’t wait for The Treatment to come out! I don’t know what to expect from the next book, even though I know that this series is only a duology.

You can buy The Program from all good bookshops and online!

The Treatment (The Program #2)
Released: May 2014
Genre: Dystopian, Romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
At the Other End:
Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

This novel was received for review via Simon and Schuster Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.


  1. Glad to hear you loved the Program, I have heard a lot about it and I know Kelly loves it but haven't picked it up yet. Mainly because I heard it's mainly a romance with a sci-fi feel to it. Hope you enjoy the next one lovely!

    1. You should definitely give this one a try anyway. There is romance, and it is central on it, but there is definitely more to this book than the romance, even though it puts out that front. I'm so jealous that she's already read The Treatment!

  2. Jeann's right, I do love it :) I really didn't see it as a romance, especially book one. It was more so an action scifi with a sprinkling of it throughout. Book two concentrates more on the romance and relationships though. Awesome review Gina. Love the hidden spoiler, I don't use it often, but it's an awesome way to have a rant without those who haven't read it seeing it.

    1. I agree, but I think it depends on the reader as well. There is enough romance in there that some readers will think that it focuses mainly on that, but then there are other readers (like us) who see the bigger picture as the main focus. YES! I was in love with it, as soon as I saw it on one of Cait's reviews :)

  3. I've been wanting to read this one for ages, glad to hear you loved it. I'm glad you reviewed this because I checked on goodreads and I had forgotten to add it to my to-read list! Added it now.

    1. Oh you really should pick it up! It is amazing. They have a paperback version of this out now as well, so it should be recently stocked on shelves :)


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