"James is the best at hiding the pain, disguising the feelings. He knows what it takes to stay out of The Program. He'll keep us safe.
Book Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Amount of Pages: 405
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Geared Towards: Teens
From: Library's Summer Reading Program
Extra Info: First book in The Program series
Summary (From the Back of the Book): 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 in and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they've 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.
Wdebo's Review: I have always liked dystopian novels where people try to overcome some sort of warped system. That's why when I read the summary for the book, I knew I had to read it. Though I did enjoy the story there was one crucial part that kept me from enjoying it to the maximum capacity.
I really enjoyed how the story was laid out as well as the pacing of each section of the book. The addition of various details as the story progressed to better understand various parts of Sloane's life were also well done. Although I would have liked to see a greater contrast of before and after the program, to see a growing dread towards the increase of suicides as well as the Program itself. It would have made a nice comparison such as what was done in The Handmaid's Tale.
While I did enjoy the storyline and how it was laid out, I was not particularly wild over the characters themselves. Sloane was not a character I truly connected with, I felt very apathetic towards her which is not something I want to feel for a main character in a dire situation. I did feel sympathy for her but nothing more even though I wanted to. Additionally, when Realm was introduced towards the middle of the story, I was hoping that he would be a benign helper on the side, but of course he turned into another "love interest." I really wished that there would be a platonic guy friend instead of just another guy who falls for her because the comfort people can provide to others is not always strictly romantic. However, my disinterest was the only thing that kept me from not liking the book from the full potential.
Cafe Cover Chit Chat: I think the cover is pretty good. The stark white walls and the bright uniforms really help to stand out (B+)
All in all, though this novel did provide an interesting premise and storyline, the characters were not as sturdy as I would have liked them to be leading it to not have been as strong of a book as it could have been.