The Program – book review

The Program

Captivating, spell-binding and beautifully written… The Program is the first book in its series, written by Suzanne Young.

It’s the future. Teen suicide is an epidemic. The only solution is The Program.

Sloane must keep her feelings hidden. After her brother committed suicide, Sloane has been desperately trying to never let her true feelings show. After all, just one outburst could land her in The Program – the only proven cause of treatment for teenagers with depression. But there’s something wrong with the teenagers who return from The Program. Their depression is gone, yet so are their memories. The Program means to remove the “infected” memories, but how do you know who you are when memories from your past is stolen from you? All Sloane has to do is make it to her eighteenth birthday; when The Program can’t take her against her will. Then she will be safe.

But Sloane is under constant surveillance both at home and at school. The only time she can be herself is when she’s with James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of the treatment and Sloane knows their love can withstand anything. But they are getting weaker. The depression is setting in. It’s harder to bury their feelings. They both know one thing – The Program is coming for them.


I absolutely loved reading this book. This book was so powerful and emotional and I loved every bit of it. The idea of the story really interested me. This story is set in the future where teenage depression is considered a virus and the only way to control this epidemic is to send the infected teens to The Program. It’s a really scary concept. It’s terrifying to think that something like this could possibly happen in our future. The Program takes away “infected” memories of the people who are in the treatment until all the bad stuff is gone and, in theory, the person should be left happy and carefree. But The Program is evil and steals memories, leaving the person with massive holes inside them.

I thought the concept for this book was spectacularly amazing and pure genius. I was grabbed from the very first page of this book and even after the ending I am still thinking about what’s going to happen. There was never a dull moment in this book. The way this book was written is perfect and manages to convey so many emotions. There was this one part in the book when I just couldn’t stop crying. It was so devastating what had happened and I couldn’t believe it. It was so sad and made me both heartbroken and furious, yet wanting to read on and find out what was going to happen. This book is truly amazing and I definitely recommend reading it. If you haven’t read it, now’s the time to go and read it because from now on this review won’t be spoiler-free!

I don’t even know where to begin. This book was just so fantastic. I think I’ll start with Miller. Oh, Miller. I wanted him to get with Lacey the whole time and I was begging for her to remember him even just a tiny bit. I loved Miller’s personality and he made me laugh. But then he killed himself. WHAT?! I cried so much when that happened and I wished he hadn’t have done that. I cried even more when I realised how messed-up James was after that. No. I could already tell that The Program was coming for him. NO! Why couldn’t he just act normal? Why did he have to let his emotions show? I get that he’s really depressed from his close friend committing suicide, but if not remain calm for himself, do it for Sloane! Didn’t he realise that if he went into The Program, Sloane would then be even more depressed and have to be dragged in there herself? I was begging for him no to be taken and I was crying my eyes out in the scene where he was. It was so heartbreaking watching Sloane, powerless, having to remain calm. It would have killed me. I would have screamed until my throat was hoarse and ran after James until I couldn’t run anymore. I would have gone into The Program with the hope that James and I would be put into the same facility. James and Sloane were just so perfect with each other and I couldn’t imagine the rest of the book without James. I loved James so much. He was funny and caring. I couldn’t imagine Sloane being with anyone else.

It was so heartbreaking watching Sloane as the Handlers came for her. In a way, I was hopeful to see if Sloane would be in the same facility and James and they could work out a plan to escape The Program and live happily ever after. It crushed all my dreams when Sloane went to the facility and James wasn’t there. It killed me all over again. I just wished Sloane could escape. The thing that annoyed me was, why did Sloane never attempt to escape, even if trying was impossible? Wouldn’t she at least try to escape to find James? Couldn’t she go out of her room one night and sneak out? I was a little happy to learn that The Program wasn’t nearly as bad as I had hoped it to be. I expected handcuffs and people being chained to metal slabs as their memories were taken from them. It was actually really smart how the pills Sloane had to take at the beginning of her session with Dr Warren made her tell everything, then the next pill would make her forget it. I loved it when Sloane figured that out and how she refused to take the pills. Even when they had to inject her with the stuff to make her tell-all/forget, she would never give in to taking the pills, even when she knew she had no hope. It made me so angry that she and the other patients were so helpless as their memories were being taken away from them.

In the scene where Sloane is telling Dr Warren about James, I knew it would end badly. When Dr Warren said: “I’m sorry for all that you’ve been through, Sloane. You should take a moment to say goodbye.” I completely broke down. “Goodbye to who?” “James”. This part of the book was so sad. I was actually waiting for a bus as I was reading this. I burst out into tears and couldn’t stop, even though people were staring at me. They probably thought a family member had died or I’d broken up with my boyfriend or something. In a way, I had. Sloane loosing James was so heartbreaking and I had to put the book down for a while before coming back to it. I knew it probably wasn’t healthy getting this upset over a book, but I couldn’t help it. It was so emotional and I felt like I was Sloane, losing someone I loved. I hated those stupid meds and how they stole every memory that was precious to Sloane. I hated The Program for what it does to people. How it empties them until no real memories remain. For the next two chapters, I was crying of sadness and anger. I love it when books make me feel sad or angry though. Congratulations, Suzanne Young. You should be proud of the way you make people feel while reading this book.

In The Program, I really liked Realm. He seemed real. Him and Sloane were such good friends and I loved it whenever they were together. But then we find out that Realm is working for The Program. WHAT?! I was not ready for that. That fact made me start crying all over again. As if Sloane’s life wasn’t bad enough already. As if Sloane hadn’t been through enough. I was so relieved when Sloane finally left The Program. I was so pleased that they couldn’t take any more of her memories. When Sloane made friends with Lacey, that was a sign that The Program couldn’t get rid of all feelings and memories. Ha! Take that, Program! And then Sloane get back with James. I can’t explain how happy I was about that. It was so beautiful when James gave her that ring down by the river like he did the first time… It was beautiful. It again proved that not all can be lost. Sloane and James are nearing their 18th birthdays, so then The Program can’t take them once they are adults. Then Sloane is given a pill that can make her memories come back. Wow, okay. I did not expect that. But then fact that I can’t believe even more is that she didn’t take the pill and that there’s only one pill! Why couldn’t there be two? Why couldn’t James get one too? Can they please meet a science geek who can analyse the pills and create more of them? Please? All I want is for Sloane and James to be happy and complete with all of their memories back. Can Sloane and James take half of the pill each? Maybe then they’ll get half of their memories back? I’m just so desperate for them to be happy!

I loved reading this book. This would have to be one of the best books I’ve ever read! I loved everything about this book: the plot, the characters, the love between Sloane and James… everything! It was so beautifully written. I absolutely loved reading The Program by Suzanne Young and I’d give it a score of 9.5 out of 10. I’ve already pre-ordered the next book from my local bookstore!

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