Endless Bliss | Happy Lifestyle Blog: The Program by Suzanne Young (Book Review).

The Program by Suzanne Young (Book Review).

the program by suzanne young book review

The Program is about a girl named Sloane who lives in a world where suicide is a teenage epidemic. If a teen shows signs of depression, like crying or ostracizing themselves from their peers, they are sent to The Program to be "fixed." Having already lost her brother to suicide, Sloane knows not to show any signs of even a mild depression. She buries her feelings and plasters a smile on her face. The only person she can truly be herself with is James. 
All Sloane really knows about The Program is that no one comes back the same, so when James is sent to The Program, Sloane's world is turned upside-down.

The book was so frustrating in the most amazing way possible. This was the first book I read by Suzanne Young, and now all I want to do is read more by her. I really loved Sloane. Even though she was really sensitive and cried at some of the most inopportune times (not going to lie; I probably would have too), I feel like she did the best that she could do in the most unideal situations. One thing that I didn't like about her was that I felt like she wasn't a very independent person. It seemed that throughout the entire book, she was never on her own for anything. She always needed to lean on someone before taking action. All that said, I loved Sloane, and I thought she was a great main character.

My favorite character, however, was James. Suzanne made him likable-y unlikable. He was perfectly imperfect. Apparently, to me, James was just a perfect contradiction. He was strong (both physically and mentally), protective, and curious. He wanted to take care of Sloane, no matter what it took. He had a huge heart underneath his tough exterior.

I think this is a book that all teens, maybe even all human beings, need to read. Suzanne made the message of self-acceptance so clear in The Program. Even though the book is technically about suicide, it's also not really about suicide at all. It's more about loving who you are and never letting anyone take that away from you. Your life is yours to live, and you should fight for it. 

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5. I'm really looking forward to reading the second book in the series and seeing how everything turns out. 

For more information about Suzanne Young and The Program, check out Suzanne's blog and follow her on Twitter! She favorited my tweet, which made me love her more than I did after reading this book. 

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the program by suzanne young


  1. I just finished The Treatment a couple weeks ago...very good series!

  2. Not sure why it posted as anonymous! LOL


  3. Miranda O'BrienJanuary 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    Ohhh, I'll have to add this to my list!

  4. This looks like exactly my kind of book...definitely putting it on my wish list! :)

  5. I got this book for my partner in the book blogger swap! I'm glad you enjoyed it, I thought it looked super strange and interesting. Maybe I'll try it one day!

  6. When I read this, I immediately thought it sounded SORT OF like a horror movie I watched a while back called From Within in the way that the suicide was an epidemic. In any case, I'm putting this on my TBR list!

  7. My students loved this book, but weren't as excited about the sequel. They've been bugging me to read it, though, so I guess it's going on my TBR!

  8. Book blogger swap? What is this, and how can I get in on the fun?!

  9. Oh my! I need to read this. It sounds so good.

  10. This book sounds so interesting, but teen suicide actually is an epidemic in some places. I know because I come from an area with one of the highest teen suicide rates in the country. You should also look up "suicide contagion"-- it's a very real phenomenon. It's honestly pretty insensitive (although I'm sure you weren't trying to be) to dismiss the reality of the literal "spread" of suicide-- even though the book exaggerated it heavily to create a distorted society.

    I cannot tell you how incredibly painful it is to be part of communities where suicides are kind of "normal". It will likely be at least a decade before the number of weddings I've been invited to outnumbers the amount of invitations to memorial services for suicides I have received. I'm 22.

    Communities like mine struggle because we don't play by the rules of what people look for in suicidal individuals. Many of our suicides are star athletes with near perfect grades in one of the top school districts in the US. They aren't just the sad, lonely outcasts. They are the kids with loving supportive families. They are the kids about to get degrees from amazing schools. Experts come to study our district every time another one of us dies because they don't know how to help us or what to tell us when we want to know how to help each other. We are upending traditional beliefs on suicide, and kids are dying as psychologists, school administrators, parents, and students struggle to figure out how to deal with any of it.

    Please don't be so flippant when talking about suicide. I am living the reality of being in communities where suicide is rampant and even pathological, and I cannot tell you how deep it cut me that you wrote that suicide as an epidemic seemed almost silly in how "unrealistic" is was.

    It's real. It's here. Our friends are dead.

  11. I wasn't trying to downplay the reality of suicides in our world. I apologize that you took it that way. I described it the way that I did because I was doing a book review on a book that was a work of fiction. I know people that have committed suicide (see this post: http://www.endlessblissblog.com/2014/07/open-letter-to-my-ex-boyfriend.html), and I would never speak of it in the way that you just assumed that I did.

  12. I always get so nervous about sequels, which is why I'm putting off reading this one. I definitely loved this book though! Read it!!

  13. I'll definitely have to check out that movie!!

  14. You should definitely give it a go. I enjoyed it! Obviously.

  15. I did a blogger book swap awhile back, but it was a one time thing. I don't know if this is the swap Nina got it from or not though. There are a few other book swaps I've seen on other book blogs! There are so many bookworms in the Blogging Elite, I feel like we could definitely do a book swap within the group!

  16. I want to read the sequel, but I'm nervous I won't like it as much! I may wait a little while before I read it.

  17. You called suicide-as-an-epidemic unrealistic to the point that it was hard for a reader to believe. Which is exactly what I'm calling you out on. I'm not assuming you don't take suicide seriously, I'm telling you that you wrote something offensive about a phenomenon that is rare but still very much real. Maybe you didn't know that suicide ACTUALLY can be an epidemic, but it is and that means that you accidentally said something hurtful. Own up to it. It happens to the best of us.

    Apologizing that I "took it that way" is not at all an apology for hurting me. It makes it my fault that I was offended by you. How am I supposed to feel that you blatantly, probably mistakenly, made the deaths I've experienced seem like a silly coincidence that doesn't belong in reality, and then tried to make it my fault for being offended and then made it about your own feelings on suicide (which is not the same as suicide-as-an-epidemic which is the point I have a problem with)?

    I haven't "assumed" you've said anything. I read what you wrote. "Even though the premise of the book sounds unrealistic (can anyone really believe that something like suicide can be an epidemic?)" is the offending line. The answer is yes, it can, and it is, and I'd really rather you didn't treat it like it's some fantasy that is not able to exist in reality.

  18. It wasn't my intention to downplay suicide as an epidemic. As I've said, I know people who have committed suicide, and I would never write it off as something that's irrelevant or unreal. As a blogger, I'm sure you're aware of how things can be obscured and twisted because people read things in their own voices and not the voices of the person writing it. I am not disagreeing with anything you have said, and I apologize that what I wrote was taken out of context.

    As I said above, I was doing a review on a work of fiction, and the way that the epidemic was described in the book seemed unreal to me, hence, my sentence in parenthesis in my review. Because it's a work of fiction, it's dramatized, which is why the idea of how it happened in the book was unreal to me. I wasn't trying to offend you or anyone with what I had written, and I am sorry that what I said was offensive to you.


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