Author: Suzanne Young
Date of Publication: April 30, 2013
Formats Available: Hardcover, E-book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: 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.
The Program was one of those novels that completely ripped my heart out of my chest, threw it on the floor, stomped on it, and handed it back to me as I held this book to my chest thinking about how much I loved every second of it. Emotionally charged and unforgettable this novel has a startling ring if truth to it beneath the bleak dystopian-esque world. With ups and downs and unforgettable quality The Program has a story like no other, and that's what makes it one of the best YA novels I've ever read.
Full of death, suicide, and depression this book is full of heavy topics. There were some moments where I had to set this book aside for a minute and collect my thoughts before I continued just because of the overwhelming amount of emotion and desperation radiating off the characters. Young has the most captivating writing style that made me want to scream, to cry, to grab both James and Sloane and just make everything better for them. Very rarely do I find myself so wrapped up in the emotions of the characters, the entire novel I felt as if I was living every second with Sloane, feeling every single emotion right along with her.
What makes this novel so heart wrenching is the relationship between Sloane and James. Even though the novel starts in the midst of their relationship I didn't feel like anything was rushed or that I was being catapulted into the story, instead I instantly sensed the deep connection between them. Something about their relationship just rang so true that I couldn't help but hang onto every word between them, every love filled comment or gesture. As the novel progressed to the second half I read each romantic scene through my tears, something about knowing what the characters didn't know made it so much harder to read, but in the best way possible.
The cliff hanger ending left me desperate for the sequel not only because of what happens with Sloane and James but because of the questions it leaves about the Program and what's true and what's not. The Program is one of those novels that is so difficult to review because all the things that make it amazing are the things that I can't write about without ruining the whole story, but trust me when I say that this novel is as amazing as it is life changing. Full of the starling consequences of suicide and a romance that will make you want to cry as much as it makes you want to find your own James, novels like this are what make me love YA fiction with the passion that I do.
I would one hundred percent, no question about it, recommend The Program to young and old alike. More than just a romance this novel hits on the serious topics of depression and suicide that seem to be at an all-time high in our society today. Be warned that The Program isn't always an easy read and may not be for the weak of heart, but in the end it was completely worth it.