Dayla's Reviews > The Program

The Program by Suzanne Young
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Review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7

I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

True to the creepy synopsis and cover, Suzanne Young's The Program is a disturbing portrayal of a world where suicide grows rampant and is classified as a mental disease that is catching, especially in teenagers. Between the scary idea that the government could give such power to industries much like "The Program", and that teenagers facing the increasing difficulties in their world can be classified as suicidal, Young's novel is not only original, but effectively eye-opening and thought-provoking.

Sloane, the protagonist, is perhaps one of those fortunate characters that we can't exactly hate. We see her decisions, we see her world beyond the knowledge that she is capable of holding--thanks to "The Program"--, yet we can't really outright blame her. If you don't know what's good or bad for you, how can you make the "right" decision? If your previously known world is a blank for you, would what we classify as right and wrong be the same for you?

What immediately caught my eye was the romantic aspect of The Program. It drives Sloane forward, even as her familiar world disintegrates from her memory. It also isn't one of those immediate romances that the protagonist encounters at the beginning of the novel. Instead, we are introduced to this powerful couple who vow to stand against the world, even if they have to make dire decisions. What I liked about this is that while Sloane's world does revolve around her relationship with James, she uses the difficulties they face as a way of growing and overcoming the chains of their society.

Perhaps one of the best, and most frustrating parts of The Program are when Sloane encounters the antagonist: "The Program". We are made to really hate this organization, even as they promise Sloane that they are healing her. This is where being an observer becomes useful. Whereas Sloane and her parents see only what "The Program" wants them to see, we are privy to everything. In a way, this is kind of awesome because we hope and hope that Sloane will also learn of what is happening. We root for her because of the powerful character she was at the beginning of the novel.

The pacing was less than stellar. The beginning of The Program, though used to build up the importance of Sloane and James' relationship, dragged a bit and I often found myself wondering when the intriguing parts would come. Instead, we are plagued with Sloane's depression and the dread that something bad is about to happen...the issue is that it took to long to get to said "something bad".

Keeping that in mind though, once Sloane enters "The Program" then everything becomes much more interesting. We connect a lot more with the characters, the storyline becomes addicting, and we start to truly root for Sloane.

Also, I've never been a fan of characters who have long internal dialogues when they are on a limited amount of time. There is no sense of urgency in their thoughts, despite the urgent situation. This happens quite a bit in The Program and let me just say that if I could shake Sloane into shape, I would have.

The epilogue was fantastically creepy. It hints at just how every action has consequences and how, though we strive to move forward and forget our pasts, we will always fall back and repeat what has happened.

One of the interesting quotes I found in Young's novel is, "I think that sometimes the only real thing is now" (Young), which ironically touches on the fact that yes, we do need to live in the here and now, but what if our pasts can save us from the here and now? This quote forces the reader to ponder what life would be like if we just simply lived in the present, rather than let our pasts mitigate our actions.

I recommend The Program to fans of dystopian fiction that hits a little too close to home, and deals with the painfully familiar topic of teen suicide. The romance in this novel is powerful and shows just how strong our hearts are when it comes to judging character and knowing what we truly want, despite our pasts being a distant memory and the present our only reality.
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Reading Progress

05/26/2013 marked as: currently-reading
05/28/2013 marked as: read

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