Friday, June 27, 2014

Novel Review: The Program (The Program, #1) by Suzanne Young

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Genre: YA Dystopian Romance
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Release Date: April 2013
Spoilers?: Not really.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

The Cover:

This is a pretty good cover. It's nice, it's eye-catching; I appreciate that under the dust jacket on the hardcover, there's another picture on the binding. It represents the book pretty well, the romance and the sense that the couple is in it together only, along with the colors and the pills on the back cover.


“‘I think that sometimes the only real thing is now.’” (Hardback, pg. 398)

I was wary when I started this book, but hopeful. I’d enjoyed Young’s previous series, but I’d heard some iffy things about this one. For one, I was going in hoping for some good romance, expecting this to be a dystopian with a lot of attention on the romance, so maybe that helped.
I did enjoy the romance. I like romances where the couple has already formed before the book starts, and then they have to go through some hard stuff. So I felt their attraction early on, and I liked that. There was a bit of a love triangle forming during this book, and I’m not sure if that’s going to go anywhere in the next book, but I didn’t really care for it. It was obvious that Sloane and James were going to end up together, so the love triangle was a bit unnecessary.
I enjoyed the characters for the most part, and did like their development, but none of them really stand out to me.
I wasn’t expecting a lot of depth with the storyline, with why there’s the program and all that, but I still think there could have been more. I understand why parents would want to send their kids to some program instead of losing them, but I also had a hard time believing that suicide is a catching disease, or why people think that the way the program works is all right. I’ve taken psychology classes, and parts of the whole thing just didn’t make sense to me.
I enjoyed the book for the most part and do want to see how the story ends. I hope that there’s more explanation in the next book, though.

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