The Program by Suzanne Young | Review & Discussion

Check it out on Goodreads here, and buy it from Amazon here. Also, here’s the cover:

Trigger warning for suicide and depression.

Okay, so when I first picked this book up, I was pretty nervous about it. Based on the reviews that I’ve seen, not many people loved The Program, and I thought it was going to be a mediocre book.

Hell, I was wrong.

I understand that not everyone will like this book because it may be too romance-oriented and it kind of has a plot and it kind of doesn’t–but that didn’t stop me from loving it.

First of all, The Program has an awesome premise. It’s set in a world that is somewhat dystopian; but the same shops and stores still exist and the technology has not yet went that far. However, in this world, suicide and depression are national epidemics. So everyone thinks that they are diseases that can be passed from one person to another. I love reading books about darker topics such as suicide and depression, and it was SO unique to read a book that is dystopian AND it deals with these heavier topics.

You know how when someone is sick or has the cold and you don’t want to be near them in fear of catching the cold yourself? Well its like that in this book except people think you can spread your suicidal thoughts. Of course, like in every dystopian, the government claims to have found a “cure” for this epidemic, aka “The Program.”

Our main character, Sloane, lost her brother, Brady when he committed suicide. She lives a boring life, and her only light is her boyfriend, James. The only way Sloane can not become depressed is by staying with James, but slowly everyone seems to being “infected” by the disease…and The Program is coming for them.

And, duh, if The Program comes for them something bad is going to happen because they are going to return as brainwashed robots.

Obviously, if you’ve read the synopsis, you already know about this so I don’t want to get into too much detail about the summary of this book.

Before I begin, I would *again* like to state that this book may not be for everyone. Some people may argue that this book is not even dystopian, but it is. It is just a dystopia that is more centered around the romance of the two protagonists rather than the action and the plot. This was really refreshing to read in a dystopian novel because sometimes in dystopian YA, there’s nothing but action and politics and action and murder and killing. (See: Divergent) This DOES NOT mean that this novel did not have a plot. In fact, it did, and it had a very strong one, in my opinion. Anyways, more on that later.

So, since I’d much rather discuss this with you AFTER you read this book, I’ll just say this: I really, really enjoyed this book. It was a very refreshing, unique dystopian read, and I loved the romance and the characters SO much. Sloane, of course, could get annoying sometimes and she made the stupidest decisions possible, but her character also developed which is always awesome. I also loved the premise of this novel and how the author incorporated such dark topics into a dystopian book, and how addicting it was. (It took me four days to read it but if I had the time I would have finished it in one sitting.)

To wrap up the non-spoilery section of this review, I highly recommend this book to you if you are looking for something different, and if you love romance. Go and read it, then come back and read the next part of my review so we can discuss it and fangirl together!


Okay–so I’ll be getting into HUGE spoilers so please leave if you have not yet read this book.

Hmm…let’s see where to start. Let’s start with James because I love his face and body it’s always a lot of fun to talk about love interests. But, before we begin, can we just appreciate the fact that

a) The Program hardcover underneath the sleeve is freaking gorgeous, AND
b) The dude who’s supposed to be James is freaking PERFECT for James. (I don’t think the girl model matches Sloane, but James…is perfect) Just look:


Yea. So James is a very important character in this book, for obvious reasons. He’s Sloane’s main love interest, and he has a snarky but cute personality, which I ADORE in characters. Of course it was really heartbreaking to see him forget Sloane, but after they met up again and Sloane realized that they used to be a couple, I WAS FANGIRLING LIKE CRAZY.

I loved how during the end of the book when he and Sloane came to the river again and Sloane was hiding his pants she found the ring again. It was kind of unrealistic, I know, since the same thing happened over again, but I just thought that it was SO cute that I actually squealed reading that scene. Like I full on squealed.

Then let’s talk about Sloane. Sloane, let’s be honest, is a pretty boring main character. She doesn’t really have any special aspect about her, expect for the fact that she loves James “madly. And, like every other YA book, Sloane makes stupid decisions (ROGER and that pill–well, maybe it wasn’t that stupid but still) but she redeems herself near the end with her character development.

A part that I really loved about this book was that Sloane had plain brown, *curly* hair and plain brown eyes and yet she was still pretty. And unlike many other main characters, she really didn’t care about her appearance. She never asked James if she was pretty or not, and the book never straightforward described her appearance. Someone always complimented her, and she didn’t obsess over that comment for centuries.

Then we have Realm, who’s probably the most interesting character with the most backstory in this entire book. Realm works for The Program, but he is also somewhat against it. He loves Sloane, but then he also does things against her, though he helps her and James in the end. I actually really like Realm as a character because I feel bad for him and I think he is such a sweet person, although I do not ship him with Sloane. I just don’t think they’d make a good couple, but I still love him as a person and I hope he can find his own girl that’s good enough for him. Hopefully this will happen in the sequel.

Now let’s talk about The Program itself. The Program is, quite simply, scary. It takes away your memories, your dreams, the people you love, basically your entire life. It causes people to commit suicide in fear of going into The Program. It brainwashes you, and makes you think that its doing a good thing. And what makes this book so good is that The Program seems very much realistic.

There’s not that much technology in this book surrounding The Program, rather, there’s a lot of pills being used. Pills = bad. (Besides that last pill Realm gives Sloane..unless that’s a trap too) I hated how when Sloane came to The Program she directly accepted everything, and I was like NONONONONONONONO WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Because seriously, she was way too accepting sometimes.

Finally, since this review is getting WAYYY too long, I would just like to talk about the feels that this book gave me and the ending. I thought that the ending was probably the best part of the book, because more stuff happened, and because it was interesting to read about Sloane and James and learn a bit more about Realm. I’m very much excited to see what happens in the sequel (which hopefully I will read soon!) and also see how that one tortures me with feels as well. (And that epilogue left me very much intrigued…)

Yea, this gave me a lot of feels. BUT I LIKED IT.

Final rating: 5 stars. This was a very promising start to a duology and I loved almost everything about it. I don’t know if it will become a favorite of mine, but its definitely up there somewhere.


4 thoughts on “The Program by Suzanne Young | Review & Discussion

  1. Pingback: Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish–September 8th, 2015 | AloofBooks

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