The Program-- Suzanne Young

Release Date: April 16th, 2013
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi, Dystopia
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 408
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
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.
Blurb: If you don't buy into the premise, this is just a contemporary romance.

Review: The gist of this book is that teens can be "infected" with depression. And so many of them are being "infected" that they are committing suicide in droves. I think it said 1 in 3 teens committed suicide. That sounds like a really cool premise, except that... I didn't buy it.

The world of this book is SO DEPRESSING. All adults are so paranoid about the kids getting depressed that the teens can't display any emotion (even extreme happiness is frowned upon), can't disagree with anyone, and essentially they don't have any individualism. Who wouldn't be depressed in a world like that? If I had to keep such a tight leash on myself all the time I can actually see why suicide might seem like a viable option.

My best friend suffers from depression. And she's told me before that she knew she didn't have anything to be sad about, but she was still sad. Perhaps if the author had started earlier in the "epidemic" history. If we had seen teens who really did have nothing "wrong" with their lives get depressed and commit suicide in large amounts. But that's not what I saw. I saw teens in a crappy world with only one way out.

Because of this, everything else that happened in the book just seemed like a contemporary story. This was another one of those books where a good portion of it was told in flashbacks, and those flashbacks didn't have anything sci-fi or dystopian about them. I don't like contemporary romance. I find it dull. And yet when we would come out of the flashbacks we would get just enough of a glimpse into the sci-fi aspects of the book that I kept reading.

I didn't hate this book, but I was far from loving it. If there are more in the series I will not be reading them because I feel like there isn't enough sci-fi stuff to carry the story, and I don't care about the romance.

Other Reviews:

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2013
*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.


  1. That's a very interesting review! It's nice to see nother take on this book--one that wasn't all fangirling over it. Thanks!
    Ohh! P.s: I really really love your blog design!

    Gabbie @ Rampant Readers

  2. I love how honest your review is but not bashing the book at the same time. I don't really like how the book seems solely based on depression because it seems like it's laughing at those who really do suffer with it. However, I do like the idea of a young adult book being about it, I just wish it wasn't in a sci-fi based story. But I might have to check it out! c:

  3. Hm, sounds a bit odd. And we agree with The Book Pages: great review that discusses the book (and why it didn't really work for you) without bashing it. :)

  4. I really didn't like this book either for the same reason-I could not buy into the premise and felt really bad for all the kids stuck in this world!

  5. I just now finished this book and I have to say that I agree with you on some aspects. However I also thought it was very inspiring, especially at the end when all seems lost to Sloane and James they still find a way to make it. It delivers a very empowering message. But I do think that you are spot-on when you talked about the book not needing to have such a depressing setting. You are right, how could the kids not feel depressed in a place like that? With that being said I still very much want to know what happens to Sloane, James and Realm so I will probably read the next one if another comes out.

  6. I'm liking this more now that I hear you talking about it. I like that it centers on the romance, it's one of my favorite aspects of any sci-fi/dystopian novel. Great! Now I'm going to have to try really hard not to run out and buy this, lol. Love the review! :D


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