Book Title/Author: The Program by Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse – April 2013
Genre: Dystopian I guess? It has a very contemporary feel minus that suicide is an epidemic and the way that society deals with it.
Series: YES! This is the first book!
Other Books From Author: A Need So Beautiful series, The Naughty List series
I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!
In The Program by Suzanne Young the world is experiencing an epidemic — teen suicide. To combat this epidemic a program (called “The Program”) was created to help anybody who failed at committing suicide or anyone who is flagged as being depressed or suicidal. The Program basically erases all memories that they deem to be associated with what is making you sad or depressed. Then you leave The Program and are integrated back into society without those memories and start anew. Sloane and her friends who haven’t yet entered the program have tried to stay under the radar and keep their emotions in check so as not get flagged and taken to the program. Despite the fact they have watched so many friends and family commit suicide or come out of The Program like zombies, they know they can’t let those emotions or feelings surface. As Sloane and her friends are slowly starting to succumb to those feelings they’ve ignored and the pressure to keep it together they know The Program will be their next stop if they can’t keep it together.
Oh my goodness — this is a series I am so excited about after finishing The Program. I know it sounds trite because we say it a lot but I SERIOUSLY could not put this book down. One of those “OMG IT’S SO LATE AND I’M NEVER GOING TO WAKE UP TOMORROW BUT I MUST READ” books. The Program was the ultimate kind of page turner for me because it had suspense, tension, an emotional investment and I was never sure what was going to happen despite picking up vibes about certain things. I appreciated its uniqueness and how Suzanne Young took a subject that really IS an epidemic in our society and amplified it — it felt unsettling and frighteningly REAL to me.
The Program is broken up in three parts — I don’t want to tell you what those three parts consist of even though you could maybe guess from the summary — but each part made me more and more invested in the story and layered that suspense even more. Each part opened me up to more emotions and explored a lot of things about this society and I became more and more invested in this story. I cried, I smiled, I felt like somebody took a cleaver to my heart and I felt extreme ANGER sometimes. There is just SO much to this story and, aside from being wholly invested in it, it made me think a lot, too!
It was seriously scary to be thrown into this world. I immediately felt unsettled — teen suicide is like your every day thing here and, while they’ve grown numb to it in a way, you can feel the profound pain and agony of those left behind. I was emotional just thinking about my friend who committed suicide and then thinking about how in this society it is perfectly NORMAL to have lost lots of friends and family to suicide & it just made my heart hurt and gave me that “this is going to be an intense book” feeling. It broke my heart at how they had to keep a lid on their emotions because ANY sort of sign of sadness or anger or anything, even if it was healthy, was enough to get you flagged. To watch them slowly start to succumb to the FEELINGS they’ve been holding in towards those who have died and those who have come back not themselves is so painful. You just feel the weight on their shoulders. My heart was in an absolute frenzy.
And if that wasn’t hard enough, Part 2 and 3 really were equally as compelling and painful in their own right. There were absolutely agonizing moments where we got to learn how The Program operates and what goes on inside and how they “fix” you. It was anger-inducing and scary and heartbreaking. And then Part 3 is where it got bittersweet but also hopeful and intense in more of an action-packed way towards the end. It got me excited for book 2 until I remembered WAH I DO NOT HAVE IT.
Book 2, I MUST HAVE YOU because there is still so much to learn — like HOW society got to the point where suicide was this bad? Or why people were okay with this solution? Can you fully get your memories back? And, book 2, I need you most because I haven’t felt so INVOLVED and intrigued by a series in a while.
The Program by Suzanne Young was such an interesting, frightening and suspenseful story with the power to poke and prod at my emotions in the intensest of ways. Each of the three parts of this novel heightened the suspense and really added layers to my emotional connection. One of the most exciting and page-turning books I’ve read this year and I cannot even contain myself for book 2. Very unique and unsettling and I highly recommend it for fans of all types of genres as it is set in a world very much like our own but with the fact that suicide is an actual epidemic and society has allowed something like The Program to exist to “contain” it.
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what did you think? Did you enjoy it as I did or did you feel differently? Let me know what you thought!