The Program by Suzanne Young | Review

The Program Suzanne Young Book ReviewBook Title/Author: The Program by Suzanne Young
: 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

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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.



The Program Suzanne Young Book review

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!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. EEEEK Jamie! I’m so happy to see that you enjoyed The Program. I have not read it yet, but I’m definitely picking up my own copy once it comes out! The intense emotions that this book provides seem really heart-breaking and the topic itself is a difficult one. I think the concept of this book sounds really different, and I like the mix of contemporary with dystopian. The IDEA itself reminds a bit of Delirium (love is an epidemic, and in The Program, suicide is?) Lovely review, Jamie, thanks for your thoughts!

  2. I am so excited you posted your review! Since I see to like the same books as you this gets me excited for it! I’m also lucky because she’s a local author for me so I can go to her signing! But yes, thank you for getting me hyped up! 😀

  3. Oh, I loved this review! You’ve made me want to read this book even more now! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Thank you for a great review 🙂

  4. Wow! I have heard so many mixed things about this book, so I am pleasantly surprised that you enjoyed it as much as you did! Now I have hopes that I, too, will love it… *pre-order time!*

  5. I have been dying to read this book ever since I heard about it, so your review is heightening my excitement even more! I love a book that gets you really emotionally invested, and I can tell that this will be an intense read (and was for you). Great review!

  6. I picked this book as a Waiting on Wednesday book a little while back and I am so excited for it. Great review, you’ve made me want to read it even more!

  7. I’ve been waiting for your review on this one! This book looks fantastic and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy haha. And I’m also curious at how the author tackles a topid so sensitive as teen suicide and turns it into an epidemic. She must be pretty talented.

  8. Our book club is reading this next! SO EXCITED!

  9. This is our next book club choice and now I’m even more excited for it!

  10. I’m excited that you described this book as a Dystopian with a contemporary feel–those types of books have been my favorite lately! It sounds like this is a pretty emotional read with a lot of complexity, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever in a book, so I’m excited about this one.

  11. AHHH. I LOVE Suzanne’s writing – she always, always, brings ALL the feels in her books. I’ve read both of her A Need So Beautiful series, and cried my eyes out, so I’m expecting to feel what you felt in this one, Jamie. I’m SO psyched she’s tackling something dystopian/futuristic, and man, the subject matter has me ALL tense.

    I just love that you loved this one. I expect people to, you know? But just the reactions it got out of you – I simply MUST get a copy of it. 😀

  12. I totally trust your opinion on books, so when you say that this book is definitely one that you LOVED this year – well, that means I want to give it a go. I must admit that I was a little wary of it, because I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to read something that sounded suspiciously like a bunch of sci-fi/dystopian books out there. However, based on your review, this is handled well and written uniquely – and now I’ll admit that I’m very, very curious. I’m glad you ended up liking it!

  13. Wow this sounds great… sort of like a take on Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind. I’m in the mood to start a new series too!

  14. I am SO looking forward to getting my hands on this book. Stumbled across it on goodreads a few months ago, I think, and have been waiting impatiently for it to be released. So glad it’s getting good reviews and glad you enjoyed it so much!

  15. Awesome review!! This sounds like just my kind of book. Having not long read Delirium by Lauren Oliver and The Declaration series by Gemma Malley it sounds like a must buy.

  16. I have not read any of Young’s previous books, but this one sounds really interesting and scarily close to home. I feel like this will be a hit with my students!

  17. I want to read this book so bad! I mean i know it deals with suicide(which is awful) but I’m just do interested in how everything came to be and why suicide became such a problem. I mean how can a world be so bad that almost every teen turns to suicide? Jamie I love your review and can’t wait to read this one!
    Lily @ lilysbookblog

  18. When I first saw this book, I judged it by it’s cover. Now, after reading your review, I am very interested. Except I have to take a break from mental health books or else my family and friends are going to think I have a problem. I just read The Silver Linings Playbook, She’s Come Undone, and Thirteen Reasons Why, all of which made me sad.

  19. Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I’ve been so curious about it and so excited… I love books about mental health and this one sounds so interesting! Great review, Jamie!

  20. This is the kind of story I always find fascinating yet creepy. Mental health asylums or places like that are the only kind of books that will actually “scare” me (if it’s intended to be a horror, that is). I’ve actually been a bit iffy on picking up this book, but hearing that you loved it this much has definitely made it an option. 🙂

  21. So glad you liked this story, I was on the ledge about it, but i’m really looking forward to checking it out now – I can’t wait for it to come out. I have just added it to my “to read soon” list. I think it does sound emotional and it is a serious topic, but after your review and the fact it’s a series ( I love a series) I am excited to check it out!

  22. This sounds like one of those books that will give me a pit in my stomach from the get go and the investment in the characters is intense. YES PLEASE.

  23. GAH! I wasn’t too interested in this book before… but now? I NEED TO HAVE IT.

    Great review!!

  24. Wow, this sounds like it has all the best elements of a dystopian–taking something that’s a big deal now, turning it into an even bigger issue and imagining how society would deal with it. I can’t wait to read it!

  25. I always preface any comment I make about Suzanne Young with the fact that she is one of my best friends, so I might not be the most object person out there. BUT…I do think that Suzanne is one of the most underrated YA authors out there right now. I had the pleasure of watching The Program being built from the ground up and I loved every single draft of it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I will read ANYTHING she writes because she’s brilliant.

  26. This book sounds SO GOOD. It sounds quite intense, but in the best way possible. Even though I haven’t read it yet, I’m so intrigued about why the society is the way it is, like, how does a society get to the point where suicide is an epidemic? I imagine it’s pretty heartbreaking. Great review, Jamie!

  27. Paiva Lewis says:

    Huh. I DNF’ed it. You and I are usually on the same page but definitely not on this one!

    • I guess we were bound to have one!! What made you DNF it?

      • Paiva Lewis says:

        The writing, to me, was quite poor. I’m a YA author myself (I’m posting under a fake name!), and I was frankly shocked that it got a book deal!

        P.S. Almost all of my negative reviews and comments are under a fake name. 🙂 I also comment on your blog sometimes with my real name. 🙂


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