Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance/Psychology (I have no idea what genre to call this)
Pg #: 408
Reading Span: June 12-14
Rating: **** (four stars)
I love and hate the concept of this novel. I love it because it's brilliant and original, makes a great story, and plays on real world issues. I hate it because it's possible. But the idea works well for a novel.
First, the characters. I have quite a few things to say about Sloane, the main character. I love her because she's realistic. Almost any girl would react similarly to her in the situation she's in. But it doesn't always work for situations in the novel. Sloane is often hysterical and very naive- which can be understood. But I wish she had one memory or thought to cling onto to throughout the book which made her tougher or stronger, to spare us from many hysterical crying scenes. I get it, I really do. I am glad the author made her realistic. But something needs to change.
I like James in the story. I don't particularly like his personality, but his character and signature cockiness works. I liked Lacey, she was fun, but I was never a fan of Realm (more on that later). The interaction between Sloane and her family was sad, but necessary. I couldn't help hating Sloane's mom for doing that to her, even though she thought it was the right decision.
The plot progression was pretty good. I really liked how it was split into three sections of her life-- pre, during, and post Program. It was interesting to see how the interactions between her and other characters changed in each stage, and how Sloane felt without the memories of her past. Her backstory was revealed nicely throughout the novel as well. Some parts of the book were a little dull and uninteresting, but most was enjoyable.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. The main thing that brought my rating from a 5 or 4.5 is because of the unnecessary romance scenes. They were repetitive and didn't add to the story. I went into this book knowing it was a partly romance novel, but I think it would attract more potential readers without some of the romance. References to their type of relationship and certain things that happened that are important later in the novel would be better for me personally because they often bored me.
But the reason I liked this book most is because it made me feel something. Brady's death and the toll it took on his family made me said, but moved. Sloane's struggle <spoiler> after James was taken to the Program </spoiler> nearly made me cry. That was one of the best parts of the book. Anything with Roger made me angry and creeped out. And <spoiler> When Realm betrayed Sloane, and she got the injection that made her forget and he acted like he wasn't to blame and she trusted him blatantly because she couldn't remember he had done the very thing that he was now consoling her about... GAH </spoiler> made me hysterical. Actually. Ask Brianna, she was with me while I was reading it and I was so made I a) Made fingernail marks on the book b) Slammed the book shut and almost threw it across the room c) nearly broke into frustrated tears.
I highly recommend the Program. It is extremely moving, and hits close to home for me, because so many teens are depressed and/or suicidal today. You often hear about it on the news. The scariest part is, what if this happened? What if a government program was instituted into our society? Are scientists looking for a "cure" to depression right now? And, most concerning, how far are we willing to go to find one and put it in place, despite the consequences?
Thanks for reading!