Title: The Program
Miniseries: Program, #1
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Fantasy – Dystopia
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.
The Program was probably one of the saddest, most frustrating, and most depressing books I’ve ever encountered. It didn’t help that the book was set in a dystopian world where depression and suicide was considered an epidemic. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book! It had an ingeniously well-developed plot. It was cunning, clever, and sadistic…and I guess making me a masochist for continuing to listen. The author was obviously not afraid to kill characters.
Throughout the audiobook, I kept on trying to predict what was going to happen and continued to fail. That was probably one of the reasons why I kept on listening to it. I could only listen to a few chapters at one sitting as a few chapters were enough to make me feel depressed, too. It made me cry more than any book I’ve read or movie I’ve seen. Knowing that you can get infected with depression so easily from any one of your classmates or friends was already bad enough, but they also had to hide and keep emotions, expressions, and reaction of anything else other than happiness.
Even though I wasn’t a big fan of Sloan ad there were things I didn’t like about her personality, I felt for her. Not being able to grieve properly after your brother committed suicide right in front of you and having to hide all your emotions and feelings that are not happiness could have been enough to make me depressed enough to die from a broken heart. There were times when she was just being plain stupid but I asked myself what I would do if I was put in her position where they controlled everything and slowly took away my precious memories and it made me realized I probably would have done worse. I would have fought with everything I had even if it made me dumb, weak, stupid, and annoying.
James was my favorite character. He was charming, sweet, funny, caring, and protective. He was a knight in shining armor, but not too much to make him unrealistically perfect. He had his moment, too, when he was at his lowest point in life. He showed vulnerability and weakness. It made him a more realistic and powerful character. Even his relationship with Sloan wasn’t forced at all. Their relationship was beautiful, romantic, realistic, and passionate.
The narrator also did a great job. I was so engrossed in every word she said and it made me feel like I was a part of the story. Her voice transported me to Sloan and James’ world of depression and suicide. She captivated me and made me keep on listening to the audiobook.
In summary, The Program was a very captivating and frustratingly depressing book that manipulated, violated, and attacked my whole being beautifully. There were times when it made me feel so depressed that I wanted to hate the whole world but then there were times when it made me feel so grateful for the freedom I have. I recommend this audiobook to masochist readers like me who (secretly) enjoy getting their hearts broken to pieces. The Program was more than a dystopian book. The Program was a piece of art – a beautiful, powerful, and manipulating masterpiece.
- How do you feel about my review? Do you agree or disagree with it? Would you read it, if you haven’t yet, basing from the review?
- What did you think of the book? How would you rate it from scale 1 to 5 (5 being the highest).
- How do you feel about the main characters? Did you like them, hate them, relate to them?
- Would you recommend it to others?
- What other books would you recommend I read that’s similar to this one?