The Program (The Program, #1)

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Series: The Program, #1
 Simon Pulse
Publish Date: April 30, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction

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.

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This is one of those many books that are seriously flawed, but I still (oddly) enjoyed reading.

In this book, suicide is an epidemic, and the only “cure” is The Program, where you are stripped clean of your emotions and memories, leaving you to be a hollow, empty shell.

The story is divided into three parts: Uncomfortably Numb, The Program and Wish You Weren’t Here. The part titles don’t make any sense, but generally, they mean before, during, and after entering The Program.

Part one (before The Program) was definitely my favorite. It was the part that made most sense out of the three, and it made me cry the most. It was interesting to get an insight to Sloane’s life, and I loved her relationships with her friends (Miller and Lacey) and boyfriend (James!).

This novel focuses a lot on romance, so if I were to compare it to other books, it would be more like Delirium.

I didn’t mind the excessive amount of romance because I really loved Sloane’s love interest. James was so sweet, being the rock when the others couldn’t hold on.

Sloane herself was not a kick ass character. She was constantly emotional and helpless, but I thought her character was okay enough for me to keep reading.

In part two (during The Program), we are introduced to a bunch of creepy, odd and untrustworthy characters. You couldn’t tell if they were good or bad, just that they all had a specific role to play in The Program.

Part three (after The Program) is kind of where things went downhill for me. Sloane could hardly remember anything, and the romance in this part was not as great and lovely as in part one. Things got really confusing and weird here, but I still could not stop reading.

Overall, the book had its fair share of flaws, but I still really enjoyed reading. Maybe it was because of the writing style, or maybe it was because of James, but I really enjoyed this book and I’m excited for the sequel. Hopefully, it’ll have a new set of characters, but I still want to get a little bit of insight of what’s happening to Sloane, James and the rest of the characters.
3 and a half stars

What are your thoughts on the book? If you haven’t read the book, what are your thoughts on the cover? Are you excited to read it?



24 thoughts on “Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

  1. I haven’t read this but it sounds similar to Delirium — feelings are forbidden and the Program is like the Cure in Delirium. Umm, I don’t really like helpless characters so I’m not sure whether to read it or not…


    1. I didn’t like Delirium as much as I did The Program, but they are sort of similar, in a way. If you decide to read it, though, let me know! :)


    1. You should give it a shot! I think it’s one of those love-or-hate books. Tell me if you decide to read it :)


    1. Really? I love the cover, except I wish that all the words were white, to keep the text consistent. Otherwise, I think it’s really pretty. :)


  2. Oh glad you liked this one! I agree with you that the first part was the better part – the characters were at their best. In the third part, both Sloane and James were like shells of themselves (for obvious reasons), but the spark kind of disappeared there.

    And I loved that even if James was so strong emotionally, he had limits and he reached them. Otherwise he would have seemed too perfect.


    1. Yeah, I didn’t feel much for them by the third part.

      Ah… James. <3 I loved him in part one! But then he got moody (kinda hot-and-cold) as the story went on and I didn't love him as much at the end, but I still really like his character.


  3. Great review, Christie. I’ve seen so mixed reviews on this book, but I’m yet to add it to my TBR. Maybe it’s because of the romance. I love Dystopian novels where the romance doesn’t overshadow the story. But I might give it a chance.

    Thanks for sharing! :)


    1. I feel that way about dystopians, too. But sometimes, the main plot is really romance, like Delirium.


  4. I haven’t read Delirium … Feel like I’m a bit behind on the times and need to have a gander!
    I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews about The Program, , so it’s been gathering dust on my Amazon wishlist. Still though, I’m intrigued by it (and now, because of your review, I’m intrigued by James :P).


    1. That’s fine, lol. I haven’t read a lot of the popular (I haven’t even finished the HP series yet) books as well. James was so awesome in part one! He kinda lost a bit of my love by part three, though. Hopefully the second book’ll be better :D


    1. I didn’t love Deliruim, but I think Delirium fans will enjoy this one as well! The concepts are slightly similar, but I did enjoy The Program a lot more. I think the writing and characters from The Program were a better fit for me, personally. :)


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