Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program - Suzanne Young

A copy of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster Australia for review.


I was so excited when I randomly received The Program in the mail from the lovely Simon & Schuster Australia. Let me repeat: SO EXCITED. I have heard so many wonderful things about this book, and the premise is just fantastic, and so different. I could barely stay away from this book once it was in my grabby hands.


The Program lived up to my expectations, which is saying a lot because when I have expectations they are generally high, and most of the time books don’t live up to that high expectation. But The Program most certainly did.


Before I jump straight into MY ARDENT LOVE FOR JAMES, I want to talk about how awesome the story is. Young has created a world that is not exactly dystopian – there is no totalitarian government regime or people killing each other for basic necessities – but there is certainly a dystopian element. And that is the fact that suicide is an epidemic. It’s considered a disease of sorts, and teenagers are most prone and can “infect” one another with their sadness and therefore willingness to die. I simply cannot get over this. It is amazing. But don’t get me wrong, me raving about how amazing this story is means in no way that I am raving about suicide. Just so you know.


But the story is fantastic because there’s The Program which “fixes” kids, but actually just really takes away their essential uniqueness – what makes them them, and not like everyone else.


I wasn’t the hugest fan of Sloane as a character, and possibly the only reason why this book wasn’t five stars had to do with her being admitted to The Program. The kids have to take pills, and all this time Sloane had been hateful of The Program (as is understandable), but once she gets admitted, she kind of gives up. She takes the pills they give her, she does what they tell her to do. I was kind of annoyed. Where was her oompf? Where was any kind of badassery? Even rejecting them and then being forced to take them would have shown some non-compliance on her behalf. But nope, she just swallowed them down like a good girl, which annoyed me to no end.


James. James. Oh, boy. I love him. I’m just gonna come straight out and say that I LOVE HIM. He’s so realistic and suave and just turned me into a puddle of mush. He wasn't a perfect knight in shining armour that we all love but all know is unrealistic. He was sad, and broken, and confused. He was just a guy. A normal guy. James and Sloane together are adorable, and I ship them very hard. Very hard indeed.


Realm is the other boy in this book. It’s not really a love triangle in the traditional sense, but there are definitely heavy undertones of love triangle-ness. I don’t really know what to think of Realm. Sometimes I really liked him and thought he was a sweet hot mess (new term coined right there – making history, people!), and at other times I was just like: eurghghgh I don’t know if I like you. He’s confusing, but confusing characters are always interesting to read about, and I definitely enjoyed reading about him. On the overall, I did like him (I think).


I think what makes The Program such a good book is how it evaluates what it means to be us. What makes us us are our memories, and our little isms, and without those, we aren’t really anyone.


I cannot recommend The Program enough. For so many reasons. It’s a brilliant book that looks at love, loss, sadness, solitude – and what it means to be who you really are.


© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.