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Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: The Program #1
Young Adult
Pages: 408
Genre: Dystopia, Romance

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.
*Digital galley provided by Simon Pulse for an honest review*

I'm horrendously appalled with The Program. The list can go on really, but here happen to be some reasons why I found this novel distasteful and difficult to read.

All of these agonized, depressed  teens are constantly monitored for depressing and any signs of suicide here in a near-distant future America. Now, America isn't the number one  country with high teenage mortality rates. Maybe I would have enjoyed this novel more if it were in a country where suicide rates were the most extreme like China or Japan. Or possibly there were diverse affects that were causing this international suicide epidemic (i.e., bullying, stress) rather than getting these high-strung teenage love dramas like how Sloane's boyfriend being the center of her world and with him gone so was she. The amount of obscene regards to dealing with these mental illnesses in the youth of America and the way that the teens were handling themselves in this world where The Program existed made me sick to my stomach, and not because Suzanne Young wowed me with her details. 

I was mortified. Stunned. Speechless. Abhorrent towards the execution of this Program who "helped" teens before they took their own lives by taking away the memories of the pain and the bad in their lives. That was the outcome. That was the salvation to save the teenage youth. A "do-over," really. Where you forget the ones you loved, the people you were friends with, and the horrible past that made you want to take your own life. You're a blank slate again, ready for the world to eat you up.

Is that seriously a treatment? I understand this novel is set in a sort of dystopianesque world, but it still made me mad! What am I supposed to say? I wasn't even given detail and an explanation why or what crossed the line to makes suicide an epidemic. It just happened. And I wasn't going to wait around and see if it would ever be explained since the first chunk of the book was so incredibly bland and aggravating.

I couldn't even get halfway through it because of tasteless characters and a premise that shook my stomach violently. I didn't even like Sloane, and the fact that her sole case of living was her boyfriend, this character driven on the affection and constant figurehead in her life to make her happy and alive, made her unworthy of a true heroine for me. I wanted The Program to take her away and maybe change her for the better. Maybe she could learn to actually have a personality and some likable characteristics that defined her rather than just a boy. It wasn't her brother that brought her to the brink of insanity--James helped her before she even had the chance to hit that point. It wasn't when Miller, one of her best friends who killed himself after his girlfriend (who was sentenced to The Program six months prior to the start of The Program) failed to recognize him, reported him, where Miller decided that there was no point in living if his girlfriend would never recognize him ever again and that The Program was a fate worse than death. Miller was the breaking point for James. James was the breaking point for Sloane after he failed to recognize her. I just couldn't handle what what going on between all of these characters, all of these deaths and thoughts of constant suicide.

Sloane and James had been together for over two years, so insta-love isn't an issue in this novel as far as I'm concerned to the point where I happened to give up. I decided to stop right at the part where Sloane enters The Program only because in the 30% that it took me to get there in the novel, I was completely fed up with the obnoxious, pompousness of James who believes that anything that comes out of his mouth is funny rather than tastelessly rude.

The Program is the true rime and reason for the constant deaths; it is  Teenagers fear it. Adults find it a salvation. But The Program is viewed in the eyes of these constantly analyzed teenagers as a fate worse than suicide, making it the better choice with a poison called QuikDeath, which is easy to get from dealers in schools. Where is the crackdown on these kids selling poison? Let alone, snagging away all these children from school and their homes when they least expect it, shoving pills down their throat and basically lobotomizing these kids must cost a lot of $$$ and I don't think that the government is willing to be all generous and noble by detoxing these unstable children out of the goodness of their hearts. I don't know if any of this is explained or the book just follows Sloane and her struggle to stay alive or beat the system or something, but this book just doesn't cut it for me.

Final Summation: I am extremely upset and appalled by what I had read out of THE PROGRAM. I had read so many great reviews, and I was excited to finally get to read this and see for myself what everyone was raving about. And all I could do was sit there with my jaw unhinged while I read what I read. This was not the book for me. I did not like how the concept for suicide and these depressed teenagers were executed. I was liking the beginning all up until everyone started to cut themselves or burn themselves or throw themselves off cliffs or try to drown themselves just to take the pain away. This was a Did Not Finish for me, and I will not be reading the rest of this trilogy.

First Line: The air in the room tastes sterile.
Story: DNF