Book Review: The Program, by Suzanne Young

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“I’m going to die if I don’t cry right now. The sorrow is going to rip through my chest and kill me.” p. 43

The Program by Suzanne Young is unlike any book I have ever read before, set in a dystopian society with one key change to the world today. It takes place in a time when teen suicide is high, the government institutes The Program to “cure” depression. It also strips your memories and the essence of who you are.

“Would we commit suicide without The Program, or does it drive us there?” p. 63

Sloane has seen suicide firsthand, her brother’s. James, who is both her boyfriend and brother’s best friend, was also there. Now they live with survivors guilt. They both support each other and need each other to survive. Are their promises enough to withstand The Program?

It is never a matter if The Program will find you, but when they will. They will be free of The Program when they reach 18, but will they last that long? Can Sloane hold on to her love for James if her past is taken from her forever?

This is not a happy, light read kind of book. It deals with harsh topics plaguing society to this day. It is written in a way that feels so real, I have to remind myself it is only a story. I honestly had to put the book down a couple times just to cry; it was so sad.

Yet, I needed to know what happens next. The worst part is having likable characters that can’t fight back. At least, not at first. Even when it seemed hopeless, there was always some part of me that wished things would get better. You have to read the book to find out how it ends.

Due to the topic, this book is recommended for older teens. If you want a book that is deep and meaningful, (and will make you cry) this is the book for you.

-Nicole G., 10th grade

One thought on “Book Review: The Program, by Suzanne Young

  1. Wow, I really want to read this book now! Now with so many new dystopian coming of age teen novels coming out I find myself passing them by assuming that they are all very similar, but in this book review you’ve proved me wrong. Thank you for this, I think you did a very good job conveying the deep and serious topics addressed in this book, and I think although you said you cried a few times, it will be worth the read. Keep up the good work!
    Sophia U.

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