The Program by Suzanne Young

The ProgramThe Program by Suzanne Young
Series: Program #1
Published by: Simon Pulse on April 30, 2013
Genre: Dystopian, Mystery
Pages: 416
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★★★½

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 goneβ€”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.

Wowie, The Program book was awesome! Even though the synopsis hints at a love story, I didn’t expect it to dominate the book the way it did. I think I expected more of a sci-fi than a romance, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out otherwise! This love story completely rocks. Imagine soul mates, destiny, “meant to be”, love that knows no bounds.. but all without being cheesy.

The Program is completely effortless. I feel like it deals with so many intense topics, but without shoving it in your face. It just glides across the page flawlessly so you can soak it all in.

The Program by Suzanne Young - What did they erase this time?  It wasn't theirs to take.

The first half of this story is completely heartbreaking. Just imagine: your brother commits suicide, your best friend forgets who you are, your other best friend commits suicide, left and right your friends from school have their memories wiped… and you know that you’re next. Sloan and James are an adorable, super sweet couple, but they’re on The Program’s radar. If The Program takes them in, their memories will be wiped and they’ll forget about their relationship and their love. They’re head over heels for each other and don’t want that taken away.. but they’re also grieving over all the deaths and they can’t hide from The Program.

I mean, holy crap. I didn’t even know how to approach a situation like that. I completely felt for Sloan. I was heartbroken right there with her. And she and James were such an adorable couple. James was kind of cocky and arrogant, but so insanely sweet. I LOVED him!

“I think I broke my femur,” James says, as he lies underneath me. “On the console when you were attacking me? I think I broke it.”
I laugh. “Shut up.”
“I didn’t mind though,” he says conversationally. “Like when you bit my shoulder. It was—”
I reach up and put my hand over his mouth, not moving it even after he licks my fingers. “Shut up.” As if agreeing, he pulls me closer, resting his cheek on top of my head. When it’s quiet, I move my palm and rest it on his chest.
“It was nice,” he whispers, but not jokingly. “It wasn’t weird, either. And that’s… kind of weird.”

Then when I settled into the second half, the book started focusing on a different element: if your memory was wiped, would you fall in love with the same person all over again? Are some things meant to be? And if your memories were wiped, how would you piece together the fragments of your life? You would have to rely on what people tell you.. but can they be trusted? This book was a whirlwind of confusion, hope, betrayal, loss, and love.

We had so many secrets together and now they’re just mine. The weight of them is too heavy for me to carry.

My only gripe was with Realm. An almost love triangle develops between Sloan, James, and Realm, and Realm was kind of a creepy bastard. It wasn’t really a love triangle, but it sort of was. It’s hard to explain and I don’t want to get into spoilers. But yeah, Realm = odd and creepy. Stay away.

But overall this book was super strong. It brilliantly explores the idea of star-crossed lovers and fate, but without causing me to roll my eyes. Honestly, not a lot actually happens in it in terms of action and plot development, but it has so much emotion that I didn’t mind all that much. Just be prepared for an emotional love story rather than some hardcore plot stuff. But in the context of the book, I totally think it worked. The story wasn’t so complex that it needed a lot of plot or world building. A lot of it is experiencing Sloan’s memories, but they were so sweet, tender, and heartbreaking all at once. Even when not much was happening the book was still gripping! I’m eagerly awaiting book 2!

What I see is someone broken and fierce. Someone loyal and hardened. Someone who could belong to me completely, and me to him.

The Verdict


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  1. I’m so glad this wasn’t some cheesy dystopian love story! I’ve had a bad history with them over the past month….

    Love the review and quotes! I’ll def. be staying away from Realm- he sounds untrustworthy.

    Gorgeous review, hon! <3

    Melanie recently posted: Midnight Madness Newsletter (7)
    1. Thank you Melanie!! I agree.. I was kind of worried about this book going into it since dystopians have been so hit or miss with me lately, but I shouldn’t have worried! This book ROCKED!

  2. So happy to hear you liked this one. I so want to read it. Bad. Everyone I know loved it. the concept is freaking scary, but in a subtle way. And I am happy to hear there is more love story because I feel like that right now.

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Kindle & Nook Freebies #37
    1. Omg I so totally and completely hope you love it! This book is kind of sad and heavy because of the suicide epidemic, but it’s also SO strong and hopeful at the same time. I love that! People/relationships pushing through against the odds and all that.

  3. Imagine soul mates, destiny, β€œmeant to be”, love that knows no bounds.. but all without being cheesy.

    I didn’t know that this could exist! Haha

    I am thankful for the headsup though – had I gone in to this expecting action and crazy plot development, I would have been upset with all the romance. Now I know better πŸ˜€

    Kelly recently posted: Keeping Up With the Blogosphere
    1. Hehe it totally works in this book! πŸ˜›

      Yeah there is definitely NOT a lot of action in here. Most of it is pretty low-key (except on the emotional side).

    1. Thanks! I think this is a great option even if you are a bit burnt out, because the romance-driven plot almost makes it feel more like a contemporary. I’ve been a bit sick of dystopians too but this one rocked!

  4. Dang you ASHEYBABY. Now I’m DYING for this book. I suppose that’s not a BAD thing, but I’ve read so many incredible romances lately that I’m dying for another. This looks like it will fit the bill! I WANT IT. Aaaack. I’m so glad you loved it. Because books you love, I tend to love. Wheee!!

    Oh and I’m starting the Selection TODAY! πŸ™‚
    <3 Inky

    Inky recently posted: Book Haul: Three Month Round-up!
    1. INKYYYYKINS!!!! I can’t wait for you to read this! I really think/hope to freaking god you’ll like it! Same with The Selection! *bites nails* Maxon is so swoony though so you better love it!!

  5. EEP! I’m dying to read this now! I love a story that can get me emotionally involved, and although I’m not a huge fan of romance, the question of whether or not you’d fall in love with the same person if your memories wiped intrigues me. (I’m really into fate!)
    I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! Hopefully I shall enjoy it as much as you did πŸ™‚

    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted: Undersea Spoils (27)
    1. I hope you like it Jessi! I know it might be hit or miss for you since you’re not crazy about romance, but fingers crossed that it’s a hit! πŸ˜‰

  6. This book sounds pretty interesting, and I’m definitely all-for YA books that really delve deeply into complex topics. The main question that I developed while reading your review, however, is exactly how teen suicide became so frequent and what sort of society decided that the best way to deal with the issue was through erasing memories. I do love dystopians, but I’m trying to be a little more critical about the world-building in them. I’m glad it worked out so well for you – as for me, I think I need to read some more reviews and think about it some more before deciding whether or not I’d enjoy this.

    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted: Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
    1. They aren’t incredibly specific on why suicide has become an epidemic. At this point in the book, they’re not 100% certain. But scientists speculate that it has to do with the effects of anti-depressants over generations.

      As for the memory wiping, I think it kind of became a bit of a never-ending loop. Some gets depressed and commits suicide, then that causes that person’s friend to get depressed and commit suicide. Then that *other* person’s friend gets depressed because two of their friends are now gone, etc. So their thinking is that if they cleanse people of all their bad memories (friends who have died, bad things that have happened, etc.) and bad influences, then they can start fresh and be happy.

      I hope that helps! I totally get why you’re a bit skeptical.

  7. Yep…this one was pretty much ALL romance, but I loved every second of it. Though, I will admit that I thought Realm was a creepy bastard, too. I wanted to like him, but he has deception written all over him. Oh, and I love how it was just a continuous cycle…and it made you wonder the suicides were to blame or the Program itself. Great review!

    starryeyedjen recently posted: {International} Spring Fling Giveaway Hop
  8. I LOVED THIS BOOK! Seriously enjoyed it 100% the ending confuzzled me though! Did Solane get her mind wiped completely in the end? Or is there another girl thats following in Solane’s footsteps?!?? Seeeee confused!! I cant wait until the next book comes out!!!

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