Apr 17, 2014

The Program by Suzanne Young Review

The Program by Suzanne Young
(The Program, #1)
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse; 405 pages
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.

Sometimes things that help can have really bad side effects.  I'd like to believe that tobacco wouldn't nearly be as popular if early on we knew the risk of it.  I researched the early uses of tobacco and discovered that in some countries it was originally used for medicinal purposes.  I also did a little bit of research on antidepressants before writing this review.  Did you know that 1 and 10 of Americans take antidepressants?  I am in no way medically trained, but I find that to be an extremely high number.  Now I won't go into my personal views on antidepressants, but I will say that the long term effects of antidepressant is an intriguing topic.  

The Program is a dystopian science fiction duology that features an epidemic that occurred due to the long term effects of antidepressants.  The use of antidepressants caused high amounts of teenage suicides.  To stop this anti depressants were banned, and treatment facilities were set up.  At these facilities a depressed otherwise known as "infected" teen would have their minds completely wiped.  Their brains would be reset to start a new life.  The concept of this series is just so genius.  As I previously mentioned, sometimes things we think can help us can have damaging effects.  From what I took from this, the continued use of antidepressants caused a genetic change that caused teenagers to become suicidal.

Sloane and James are two teenagers who are desperately in love.  It's not often that I say this about young love, but their loves is just so real.  They've both been affected by tragedy.  Sloane's brother who happened to also be James' best friend committed suicide.  And they've both been dealing with and fighting their own depression since then.  Now there are definitely science fiction elements to this series.  But honestly it reads more like a contemporary novel.  The focus is really on Sloane and James, and not the epidemic.  These two really fight for each other.  It was nice to read a book that starts off with two people in an established relationship.  Their love story starts before the book, and as a reader you're given flashbacks to their past.

This review is a bit hard to write, because I don't want to say too much because I really don't want to spoil it.  I think this is a book where it's better for the reader to get a feel for it themselves.  But for me this book flowed really well.  It didn't even seem like a 400 page book because I was so into it that I didn't notice the page count.  The first book did a great job of establishing who Sloane and James are.  From reading the synopsis of the second book The Treatment, it seems like that one will be a bit more action packed and give the readers some answers.  The first book set the foundation, and the second will hopefully seal it all together.


  1. The premise sounds super intriguing and really provides some food for thought about the anti-depressants issue. As a nurse sometimes I think we are a bit too pill-happy. Some people will need and benefit from taking the medication, but we just seem to think we just need to take a pill and everything will magically be better!

    As for the book reading more about a contemporary than science fiction, I migth just have to read it at a later time then..

    Great review!

  2. I just bought this one 2 days ago, simply because it had such RAVE reviews. I like that I'm not going into this to find an 'insta-love' situation. YA really needs to have more 'already established' relationships in their narratives.

    Thanks for this review, I definitely just moved THE PROGRAM up in my TBR list!


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