Review + Giveaway: The Program by Suzanne Young

May 2, 2013 Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 51 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from From Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The ProgramThe Program by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #1
Published by Simon Pulse on April 30th 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: From Publisher
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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.

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Excuse me while I fangirl over another amazing Suzanne Young novel! I have been waiting and waiting, extremely patiently, to get my hands on this one and it did not disappoint in the slightest!

The Program deals with the heavy topic of depression and suicide but not in a way that is terribly depressing to the reader. In this world, suicide has become an epidemic, a contagious disease that is spreading among teens. They are closely monitored and whisked away to join the Program at any sign that they might be infected. It’s a scary world for the teens, fearing to be taken away, their memories wiped clean, leaving an empty shell of who they used to be. But it is also scary to deal with the deaths of family and close friends.

Our main character is Sloane, who is dealing with the loss of friends and family and struggling to maintain her emotions. She’s afraid to be sad or cry and is basically walking around on emotional eggshells, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. She tries to be strong, but it’s hard to fight against the demons slipping into your mind. The one who does let her cry when she needs to is her boyfriend, James.

One of my very favorite aspects of the relationship we see between Sloane and James is that they are an already established couple. I loved how Suzanne Young did this in A Need So Beautiful and once again she was able to floor me with the swoons. Sure we get to see flashbacks of how their friendship developed into the ‘more’ and they were perfectly intertwined into the plot in a way that fit. Now James… damn I loved him. He was so sweet and protective, and let’s not forget swoony!

   We stay close until James’s hand slides onto my bare thigh just below the hem of my skirt, his breathing deepening. “My lips are tired of talking,” he whispered next to my ear. “Now kiss me and make me forget,” he says.

*dreamy sigh* There are so many of these moments that I loved. I ended up with so many flags in my copy so I could go back and reread these parts. But just as much as I was swooned, I also found my heart breaking too. The love and need they had for each other and then going through these difficult times that threatened to tear them apart… But it never felt overwhelming like a novel with this concept could come across as. Another thing I love is how the author isn’t afraid to address sex with her characters and she does so in a respectable and real manner.

Needless to say, we get a glimpse of life on the inside of the Program. It is meant to save lives by erasing those memories and parts of your mind that are associated with depressing events, almost leaving its patients with a brain like Swiss cheese. Sloane and James have never trusted it. I don’t trust it. Something screwy is going on in this dystopian world and I cannot wait to see how it all ends in the final novel in this duology, The Treatment!

   James smiles as he traces his finger over my mouth. “I think . . .” He stops and looks into my eyes, his stare arresting, pinning me in place. “I think I’m in love with you,” he whispers. “Is that crazy?”
   His words strike my heart, and the ache that’s been a constant in my chest goes away completely. I lick my lips and smile. “So crazy.”
   “Then I guess I love you madly.” And then he leans down and kisses me again.

Thanks to Big Honcho Media, I have TWO copies of The Program to offer to you all! This giveaway is US only.

Giveaway Rules:

1. Giveaway is US only!
2. Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
3. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.
4. I am not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged items. The prizes will be sent from Big Honcho Media.
5. Please follow the entry directions in the rafflecopter. (I do check and will delete entries that do not follow the directions. If you have any questions on how to enter, please ask!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Suzanne Young’s local indie bookstore is called Changing Hands and you can order signed copies at that location. (I did!)**

About Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young currently lives in Tempe, Arizona where she teaches high school English and obsesses about books. She’s the author of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL, A WANT SO WICKED, and THE PROGRAM. Learn more about Suzanne at

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

51 Responses to “Review + Giveaway: The Program by Suzanne Young”

  1. Ashley G.

    I have this one on audio for review. After reading your review I want to get started on it now! It sounds like a great read!

  2. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    Ooohhh I was kind of unsure about this one but I think you have talked me into it. I like books when the relationship is already established. That doesn’t happen very often either. I was afraid this book would be really sad but I’m glad it doesn’t come across too depressing. I am thinking erasing sad memories is definitely not a good cure! Curious what is going on is this world. I like two books series too!

  3. Tanja - Tanychy

    I was waiting to see this review! I haven’t read any book by this author so I guess I’m missing a lot. I’m so glad to see that you loved the book and I hope I’ll get a chance to read it soon. Great review 🙂

  4. Sunny Duvall

    I agree with the person above me ^ I’ve been waiting to see your review on this one! And I haven’t read anything by this author either, but I’ll fix that immediately. I’ve been so excited for this one and THRILLED that you loved it. Whoa, already an established couple? That’s so uncommon….but GREAT. I can’t wait to read all about it and the quotes you gave were amazing.

    Love the review!

  5. Kbaby81

    I definitely want to read this one. I’m obsessed with Dystopian these days. Great review! Makes me want to read it.

  6. Desiree

    I have read some great reviews for The Program. I am really excited to read it! Thanks for the giveaway and thoughts on the book (which only make me want to read it more).

  7. Jennifer @ YA Sisterhood

    So at first, I wasn’t interested in this one because I thought it would be super depressing. Now, knowing that its done well, I’ll definitely give it a try. Thanks for the giveaway.

    YA Sisterhood

  8. Aman

    I haven’t read A Need So Beautiful, but I love that both the characters were already a couple. That’s pretty different and now I can’t wait to read The Program. I’m so glad you loved it! Great review 🙂

  9. Giselle

    It’s fun to see how we all react differently to books and relationships. I mentioned in my review how I had a hard time connecting with the romance because it was already established. I like to see them connect and grow to understand/see their connection I guess. But I agree that Sloane was a great MC I enjoyed her personality. I wasn’t in love with this book like so many but honestly it’s mostly bc Im just sick of the genre. I do want to try A Need So Beautiful by her she is a good writer!

  10. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    I pretty much wrote this one off until I started seeing these raving reviews. I was nervous about believing the world building/set up, but I hear the author is convincing. I was nervous about love triangles, but it sounds like that won’t be a problem. Now I’m dying to read this one. I actually love that these characters already know and care for each other, that often makes a romance seem so much more stronger. Now I just need to get my hands on a copy!!

  11. Christina

    I think it’ll be interesting how suicide and depression is dealt with in this book– I could see it falling flat, but if dealt with well, could really be terrific. It sounds like you really liked it 🙂

    I am worried about the guy being “protective.” Not really my favorite trait in a guy…

    Thanks for the terrific review and great giveaway!
    Christina @ Ensconced in YA

  12. Ashley Rogers

    OMG!!!! I have been eagerly awaiting this book also! This book sounds amazing!!! I am eager to see how she executes this concept! AHHHH…. OK OK haha I will def calm down now. Thank you so so much! I am extremely hopeful! Best of wishes!

    Ashley Rogers

  13. Atalia

    Awesome review; can’t wait to read this book! I have heard wonderful things about it & The plot is very interesting and unique. Thank you for the chance to win this 🙂

  14. Linda Henderson

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like this but it sounds intriguing. I’m very interested in reading it and I think my daughter would like it too.

  15. Shooting Stars Mag

    I was really excited about this one, though I haven’t read anything by the author. Has a very interesting theme, especially since suicide is such an epidemic these days in its own way. I’m glad to hear you loved this one so much; been hearing various reviews.

  16. Alise (Readers In Wonderland)

    Wow, to hear this is just as good as I hoped it was is really nice! I was worried it was going to be another somewhat disappointing book about the “no feelings” plot line. Sounds great!

  17. Erika

    Thanks for the honest review! This seems very original and I keep seeing great reviews about it. Added it to my to-read list too! Thanks again!

  18. erin

    Thanks for the great review! I’ve had this book on my radar for a while and I’m dying to get my hands on it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Shelver506

    To be honest, as many good things as I’ve heard about this book, I stopped reading after “swoony boy.” I LOVE swoony boys, and you definitely sold me on the swoons. Want!

  20. RIN

    This looks so good! I just love the premise of it–very unique. And I didn’t realize that Sloane and James were already an established couple at the beginning, which I’m totally a fan of. Yay! I can’t wait to finally read this.

  21. Kayla

    This book sounds so good, and I hear so many people have loved it. Though its creepy from what I heard! I really like your review for this book! Thanks a lot! 😀 Can’t wait to read this!

  22. EmA

    I really love the cover. It has that hospital-ish look, which looks like it would totally fit with the story. The book looks really great! I love me some dystopian!

  23. starryeyedjen

    Yay!!! I loved the established relationship, too. And that sex was addressed, even if it was in more of a fade-to-black way. Still, there relationship was realistic and beautiful….puts them on my favorite YA couples list, for sure! Glad you enjoyed this one so much, too!

  24. Kristin

    Your review definitely has changed my mind about this book, it wasn’t really on my radar because it seemed like it would be a depressing read and I tend to not enjoy the books that have the heavy issues in it but, now I am definitely adding this one to my TBR pile.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  25. Lauren Elizabeth

    I’ve heard such praise for this book, and your review makes me want to add it to my TBR pile. I loved Suzanne’s writing in A Need So Beautiful, and the story and world sound so unique and interesting. I’m glad you enjoyed this so much. Amazing review! 🙂

  26. xDarithz

    Wow, this sounds like such a powerful and emotional read. I definitely want to pick it up. I love dystopian, and this seems to be my type of books. 😀

  27. bn100

    Interesting that they’re already an established couple. Doesn’t always happen

  28. Shelby Swing

    I’ve heard alot of negative stuff about this book, but personally, I’m excited to read it! Thanks for the chance to win.

  29. Jaime Lester

    Can you imagine walking around and having no emotion? Not being able to show hurt or fear or anger, or even the greater emotions? I can’t even begin to imagine. I am an incredibly emotional girl, and I have a very hard time schooling my features. Especially from those that love me. Trying to hide that from them, knowing they would turn me in? Gah. That would stink! I am so very interested in The Program. I love the cover, and I am loving all of the positive reviews that I am reading. Including yours. So thank you for the great review, and the giveaway!

  30. Evie

    Loved the review it has definitely motivated me to read this book. I have heard great things about it and the author so I more than excited!

  31. Vivien

    I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for months now. Literally. Ever since I heard about it. The premise sounds fantastic and the reviews have been stellar!!! So cannot wait to read it.

  32. Rachel

    My friend lent me an ARC of this and I STILL haven’t read it, though I’ve been wanting to since I first about heard it. The concept is interesting, and I really, really like the cover. I look forward to finally reading it, and thanks for the giveaway!

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