THE PROGRAM by Suzanne Young
In a nation where suicide is now a national epidemic, curable by treatment, who will be next to join The Program?
In Suzanne Young’s YA novel The Program, Sloane and her boyfriend James, struggle to survive on a daily basis. Their lives are a play, and their roles require them to put on a facade of happiness. If they show any signs of sadness or depression, the handlers will take them to The Program, which is the last place they want to be. Despite what everyone thinks, The Program doesn’t cure the depressed, instead it eliminates it entirely by erasing people’s memories.
Suicide is considered a national epidemic, a disease that spreads from person to person. The worst thing you can do is cry. Crying means depression, and depression means suicide. Suicide means The Program.
I absolutely adored this book and was hooked from the start! Young’s story captured me immediately. The topic of suicide and depression is a popular theme in many young adult novels; however no one has taken on the idea of suicide, strongly among teens, as an epidemic to the extent that Young does.
In The Program readers are faced with characters that come from multiple backgrounds that are strongly connected by friendship and grief. The subject matter is a strong and vital theme in this story. It challenges the idea of what depression really is and how it can affect people, as if it could be an actual disease. There are elements to the story that compromise the idea of government control, parental rights, human rights, and many other topics.
My favorite element of the story was the way in which Young delivers and tells the love story of Sloane and James.
From the beginning, we are introduced to the two main characters, who are already a couple and have been for a long time. Their love is strong and has a history. The story moves very fast in the beginning and establishes their relationship from the start. As the story goes along and the characters pulled in many directions, their love story is told through memories and recollection of stories. The layout of how Young unveiled their love was uniquely different from the formula most writers use. In The Program there are many moments, that I found myself caught off guard by the reality of the situation and the overwhelming emotions that were mixed into the stories.
The Program is at its core a beautifully told love story, with a relatable and emotional background that feels out of time while also feeling extremely real. Young delivers a story that will be sure to capture readers from the start!
Some Favorite Quotes:
“You’re right, you know,” he says. “You’re just right for me. And I’d bet my life that we’ve done this before. Because I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t have fallen in love with you the first time.”
― James: “The Program”
Me after reading that part:
*5 second later*
Meeting Suzanne Young:
I had the amazing opportunity to meet Suzanne Young at the TEXAS TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL this year! She was super sweet and just an awesome women. I got to swoon in front of her over the book, and it made me happy to see how happy my words about the book could make her! I confessed how much I loved it, and I got to talk to her for a while. It was spectacular! The fact that I got to meet her and just say thank you to her was amazing. I will remember meeting her for a long time! ❤