Review of “The Program” by Suzanne Young

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Mass-produced colour photolithography on paper for Toy Theatre; Romeo and Juliet (background and surroundings removed) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Published: 4/30/13

Published By: Simon Pulse

Provided to me as an ARC by: Edelweiss

My Rating – 5 Stars!

Summary provide by Goodreads:

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.

My Thoughts:

WOW. I can just start with this.  I do not know what I expected from this book, but I was blown away on every level.  I saw another blogger raving, and it honestly made me nervous – a lot of the series I’ve read the first book in, just didn’t live up to the GREAT ones I’ve come to put them up against.  But this was…amazing.  It was effortless and the serious topics written so well you glide over the pages, it allows you to bring it all in while moving forward – very well written.

I can start with the topic of the story – the theme per se.  It is a heavy subject, suicide at any age is a tough thing to handle, but especially with young people.  The pure tragedy of the characters losing those around them – was heart breaking. The first part of this book (it’s broken into 3 parts) is centered around the utter despair of the story – the sadness is palpable.  But I have to say that a book I thought would be majorly depressing at best, was handled with the utmost care and it didn’t make me feel like that at all.  Instead, I felt hopeful for the characters who overcame this Program – hopeful for the change that we may see in the upcoming books. The second part of the book takes you into the program – makes you feel as Sloane is wiped of the parts of her brain causing the illness.  It made me think what I would do if I knew the person I loved most in the world would be wiped away? Do I believe our love would be strong enough to overcome that? In the third part of the book you see the after, and this really brings it home – this book is really  about destiny and soul mates, it’s about all of that and more – and its NOT cheesy – it is sincere and makes you root for the characters.  This book to me was just so full of symbolism.   I also can see and it made me hopeful where it was starting to be questioned by even “returners”, people were waking up and not just taking these diagnosis and norms of society as givens, but questioning why.  To me, I can see this story, and the change within is still very young, but the spark is there – the spark for change.  At the very least, I am beyond excited to see what will come and cannot wait for the next book to unveil itself.  I could keep going on and on about this, so i’ll stop at that.) One  last thought, did anyone gasp even a little at the epiloge taken 2 weeks later with Allison – I figured out about Realm obviously – but the other characters in the Unit.. it really took me off guard (again don’t want to spoil anything – so wait and see!).  The other thing i’m interested to discuss is the purple tablet she got from her handler in the begining (she meaning Sloane – anyone have thoughts on this?) I also loved the ending where he gave her the choice – to go back to the exact person she was before, all the sadness that only she would carry, or move forward and start fresh..

The characters – well living their greatest tragedies with them makes you love them form the first minute.  I knew from the second page that this book was one I would not be able to put down – and I love those types of stories.  I loved Sloane, James, Lacey, and Miller.  I was heart broken about Miller (don’t want to give too much away).  I am sad we never got to know Lacey before the program – but after the ending I feel very strongly she is living up to be exactly the person she would have wanted herself to be.  James and Sloane – well what can I say about this.. It is a Romeo and Juliet story except in this case, the poision didn’t kill them – they end up finding each other again. There is a quote I will point out below – and this quote from Realm really to be says so much about them, but not only that, it says to me something I can apply to real life.. Good things are meant to be repeated.. I think that is so true. Those of us who are meant to find each other and be together, will make a way.  I believe that too. Realm, I cannot leave without saying something about him.  He was another character I loved and as much as it broke my heart the choice he made, it showed how much he loved the person  he did it for.. It was the best type of love, the type that shows you only want what truly makes the other person happy. I know I’ve read some reviews where people didn’t care for Realm, but to me it got Sloane thought the program, it was only through himself and Kevin that she progressed out of the program and eventually through Realm where Sloane got the answers she really needed. It he was all that evil, he would not have done anything he did. To me, he showed his love the best he could by taking care of her and making sure she was happy. He sacrificed the one thing that could bring back his own memories to give her that chance instead, to let her decide how she wanted to move forward, knowing that could mean losing her forever. I also think he ended up happy, knowing she was out there – living her life and doing what he knew she thought was right, and being able to make that choice for herself.  Again, I can’t wait to see how this plays out in the second book.

So overall – I give this story 5 stars.  It is def on my re-read list.  I will absolutely read the other books and cannot wait until their release dates are announced.  It was something with such an intense subject handled with such care you cam e away feeling brave and eager to see what will happen next.  The story made me angry, especially with Sloane’s parents.. It made me cry, and laugh.  I felt the characters and they will stick with me in some way after this.  Books that change the way you see life, even fiction books are worth holding on to.  Check out my favorite quotes below and if you haven’t read the book – get it now! This book is well written and lived up to my every expectation and more.. Would love to have a discussion about it with anyone who may be interested as well –so many things i’m just seeing now that i’m thinking about it again. I think you can easily read this and take something different every time.. Ok – you get the point – I loved it.  Check out the quotes below and reply if you have any thoughts or want to discuss anything = love to get some feedback!

Quotes I loved:

“What I see is somoene broken & fierce. Someone loyal and hardened.  Someone who could belong to me completely, and me to him.”

“We had so many secrets together and now they’re just mine.  The weight of them is too heavy for me to carry.” – this quote broke my heart, it really sums up the utter and total loss Sloane felt before going into the program – when James came back and didn’t even remember her, it broke my heart even though it was expected that would be the case.

“What did they erase this time?  It wasn’t theirs to take.” – this for me sums up the section where she was in the actual program – how scary to wonder everyday what memory of something of yours that had been taken, your brain altered forever.

“He said that some things are better left in the past.  And true things are destined to repeat themselves.” – this sums it up.. Program or no Program James and Sloane find each other.

“I Think that sometimes the only real thing is now.” – powerful.. especially in the context of the end of this story.

“Realm has given me a gift – a choice.  He’s given me his friendship, his love, and in my way, I love him back.  But he said I wouldn’t forgive him for the things I’d find lost in my head.  Do I believe that? Do I believe him?…..And with that choice, my heart breaks.  I’m saying goodbye to who I used to be.  Who I can never really be again.  The people I once knew are different.  Some are changed like me, others are dead.  Knowing that can only bring me more pain and agony.  I miss Realm, and I’m glad I won’t know what he doesn’t want me to remember.  This way, I’ll forever keep him as my friend and hero.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s the only choice.”

“You’re right, you know, ” he says.  “You’re just right for me.  And I’d bet my life that we’ve done this before.  Because I can’t imagine I wouldn’t have fallen in love with you the first time.” I smile looking at the pink ring on my finger, at the fading scar on my wrist, and I think that we’ve been through a lot to get here.  And I’m never going back.”

All in all this is an amazing story, and with more to come I can’t wait to get back to these amazing characters – Thanks everyone for reading!!

 

 

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Review of “The Program” by Suzanne Young

  1. Great review! Wow, that’s awesome that you received this from Edelweiss! I’m currently on the (short) waiting list at my library. I will definitely be picking this up so we can squee together later 🙂 Also, I love how you select your favorite quotes! =)

    • Hello again! Yes, I do live in San Francisco! I grew up in Chicago, so California has been a change… but it’s an easy place to love. How cool that you used to come out here so often! If you’re ever back, we can discuss YA books over coffee 🙂

      • Hello back! I recently went to Chicago for work and I LOVED it, what a beautiful city, I loved the waterway throughout – not sure if you saw the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding” but it always makes me think of that and the scene of Julia R and the gentlemen dancing on the boat going down the waterway with him singing to her..swoon worthy moment for sure. San Francisco was a city I fell in love with almost immediately – I really enjoyed just walking around. I checked out the surrounding areas too, on weekends I would go to Napa or Monterrey, or that little island right over the Golden Gate Bridge, i always forget it’s name.. but i went there and walked around and had ice cream. Absolutely loved it. If I ever come back, I would absolutely love to have coffee and discuss YA books – Have a great day!!

    • Thanks so much~ One of my favorite things after reading any book, even before I was a blogger, was pulling out quotes that meant something to me for whatever reason – I used to keep them in a notebook, but now I love to put them as part of my review, so thanks! I was super surprised when I got approved ot read this via Edelweiss – I have better luck usually on NetGallery since i’m a newer blogger I guess – but when this came through it made my day. Not sure how they make their decisions, but I’v ebeen trying to build the blog with more reviews and build my goodreads profile to hopefully get some more recognized ARC’s. Are you on either of those sites? IF not, you should check it out – I have gotten some pretty good reads there – it’s just hard to get them all read.. Can’t wiat to see what you think of this story!

  2. Pingback: Mailbox Roundup Week 4: 5/12/13 | Book Obsessed Shan in San Fran

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