Author: Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #1
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Review by: Tessa
Sloane will do everything she can to remember, even kill herself.
This is what the world has come to.
In the effort to stop the epidemic of suicide, the government has implemented The Program. Depressed and suicidal teens go in and hollow strangers come out.
Anyone who dares to cry in public, give in to bursts of anger, or do anything out of the ordinary earn a one-way ticket into The Program.
Sloane and James know that forgetting is not the cure, but the rest of the world disagrees.
They are at a disadvantage, considering Jame's best friend and Sloane's brother killed himself, and everyone knows that suicide is contagious.
What I loved about this book is how realistic it is. I can see this happening in our world today and it as fascinating as it is scary. Suicide is a growing problem in our society and I love how The Program shed light onto it. I feel as if a lot of YA books like to shy away from the topic.
Honestly, I can truly see something like this happening in our world, maybe not in my lifetime, but relatively soon. Other dystopians happen hundreds of years in the future after several wars, natural disasters, or plagues, but The Program could just be a couple of decades off. I felt that same way about The 5th Wave. For several days after reading it, I kept looking into the sky to see if a mother ship was there.
The realistic quality of the book also flowed into the characters, which I really loved. If you missed it, I recently talked about my opinion on the unrealistic trends in YA. After reading The Program, I have faith in the genre again.
Sloane was an easy to relate to, but unique character. She was definitely not a Katniss who was expected to carry an entire rebellion on her back or a Tris who single-handedly defeated the corrupt government. In a way, Sloane was just a scared teenager who was afraid to be changed. She was not fearless. She was not perfect and she did not want to be. All she wanted was happiness, which anyone can relate to.
James was really the star of the book. He was normal, but extraordinary at the same time. He was sarcastic like a normal teenage boy, but he also had more of a protective streak then most. He was silly, passionate, and not afraid to be sensitive when it came to Sloane.
I also loved the flashbacks in this story. Throughout the book, there were countless little gold coins about Sloane's past with her brother, parents, friends, and most of all, James.
Which leads me to yet another one of my loves for this book, the romance. Sloane and James' relationship was in no way perfect. Both of them carry permanent emotional scars that cannot be healed, but neither of them stop trying. They are annoyingly sweet, hilariously sarcastic, and undeniably passionate. I loved how their relationship was a roller-coaster and was not obviously fake. It was based on a long shared history together, not a instant moment of blinding attraction that is so common in books these days. Their relationship grew along with their problems and I cannot help but root for both of them.
On the other hand, I am not sure how I feel about the little love triangle in this book. I feel like it was necessary to the plot, but I have a personal vendetta against any kind of love geometry. There are definitely worse love triangles, but there are also better ones too.
I would recommend it to readers who like realistic characters, tough issues, and who are not afraid to cry a little bit.
I give The Program 4.5 stars.