Friday, November 8, 2013

Audio Review: The Program (The Program, #1) by Suzanne Young

Title: The Program (The Program, #1)
Author: Suzanne Young
Narrator: Joy Osmanski
Published by: Simon and Schuster Audio
Length: 10 hrs and 57 min
Source: Publisher
Format: Audio
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Emotionally stunning, and thought provoking.    

Oh where to start with this one.  First, The Program deals with the issues of depression and suicide.  In this dystopian-like world, if someone shows any bit of sadness or emotional instability they get sent into the program which "fixes' them so as they won't become part of the epidemic leading to teens taking their own lives.  However, the program's version of help is to erase all memories of pain and much of everything else as well, removing people and parts of each persons life from their own memories.  Talk about completely disorienting and horrifying.    
I feel so conflicted about all of this.  Of course I would love for there to be a fix all for anything, but that fix all doesn't mean taking away a person's memories.  Plus the fear and isolation that these teens go through everyday trying to avoid the program is painful in itself.  To not be able to grieve someone who has come out of the program and no longer knows you, or worse someone you love takes their own life and you cant shed a tear, but instead have to hide all emotion.  How can you not be sad and grieve, but to have that lurking horror of being thrown into the program as well makes their whole situation terrifying.  

Somehow Sloan and James seem to having been making it through.  They are such a great couple and really find strength in one another.  This was a highlight of the book for me.  They truly were each other's rock and there were times when their joy and happiness came streaming off the pages (or through the earphone in my case).  There were some other really great characters in this novel as well.  I'd like to say you were able to know many of them, but that was not always did however get to experience much of their pain and sadness.  

I fear I am making this sound like a depressing book.  Yes at times it was, but it was written in a way that broke through all of that and made it beautiful.  There is hope and there is happiness.  In this book it seems that depression is an epidemic that is taking over everyone's lives, but that was not always true.  Suzanne Young bring us this interwoven and complex situation and cast of characters that will defy the odds in some way or another...or at times give in to the pain.  You never really know what's going to happen until the end.  

I don't want to tell you too much about what happens in The Program because I feel that would give away the whole novel, so you'll just have to trust me that it was a great book.  However, it was slow at times, but I'm not sure if that was the writing or just that Suzanne Young was giving us time to think things over.  This is definitely one of those books that have you ruminating and reflecting quite often on not only what is happening to the characters, but to the world and how you feel about it all.  Also surprisingly I wasn't a fan of the narration.  I usually really enjoy Joy Osmanski as a reader, but she didn't do it for me as Sloan this time.  Something just felt off with her reading.    

The Program was quite thought-provoking one of those books that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.       

1 comment:

  1. I skimmed your review because I just downloaded this one. I can't wait to read it and I was SO excited to find out there are only two books total!


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