Friday, March 27, 2015

Time to Talkback: Review on The Program by Suzanne Young

The Authors had their time to talk now it's Time to Talkback. This gives me the chance to review the book or books I have been reading. Now I'm all for a honest review and at times I can be a bit harsh with some of the judgements I voice, as far as book go. But it has nothing to do with the author(s) for without them what would my imagination be (goodness help us all). It is just my own opinion, constructive criticism (I say) and I just want to state it as so many of us sometimes do. Good or Bad, I am always thankful for the books I read and the author(s) who wrote them. So, welcome to Talkback and here to a honest review.

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young

Series: The Program #1
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type: Dystopian, Fantasy
Publication date: April 30th 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Paperback
Pages:  405 pages
Source: Books a Million, Bought
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A mixture of emotions explodes when reading Suzanne Young’s brilliant debut, The Program. Young brings a combination of romance, depression, hope and lost into the world of teenage literature, through a unique writing style and a complicated thought process.

The story follows a 17 year old girl, Sloane Jacobs, through her trials of life in a world where suicide is a teenage epidemic. Sloane and her high school sweet heart James Murphy have been each other’s main support through the unthinkable death of Sloane’s brother, James’s best friend, who was a victim of this tragic epidemic. He wasn’t the only loss they’ve endured for this disease is thought to be contagious, and several of their friend have succumbed to its deathly effects. The cure for the sickness is said to be a trial procedure known as The Program. Where the infected are locked away and drugged for six weeks in a facility that wipes away “infected” memories. Teens who have been flagged as a suicide risk are unwritten and rewritten and returned squeaky clean to live their lives once again in the real world, where people around them know more about who they are than they do themselves. Sloane and James show emotion only to each other, because they never want to be carted off to The Program and made to forget everything. But soon they find themselves lost with in The Program’s walls. Sloane is unsure of her memories or her past but she wants to find out more of what she lost, however, in doing so she could be risking more than what she planned on, for The Program is always watching.

The premise of the book is enthralling and the concept of suicide being an epidemic is interesting, the thoughts that going through one’s mind about committing suicide and the effect on others through a person’s death are complex and confusing. There is so much emotion that this book could have conveyed but yet it seemed that the romance between the main character and her boyfriend is all that consumed every emotion in this book. Sloane was very dependent on the boys she encountered throughout this whole story. She depended on her boyfriend, James to get her through her brother’s, Brady, death but yet only a little bit of her feels about that death seeped through to the reader. She also needed James to make her forget her problems in general while hiding away her emotions about The Program so she would not get flagged as a risk. Sloane, then, starts to depend on Realm after being flagged and in The Program, to get her through this awful situation, relying on him to fix problems in which should have been an easy fix for her if she was a bit more of self-reliant. She even depended on Roger, her escort after The Program to help her with one of her memories, and that memory… (hold, let me guess, has to do with boys, right? Yeah two boys to be exact). Her obsession with the opposite sex is a major event in this book. Besides from boys Sloane’s character wasn’t that great. She couldn’t even figure out how not to eat the pills she was given when she knew they were erasing her memories. (She’s 17, really?) The book depict the main character as a needy, boy crazed air-head, who can’t think for herself or solve her own issues.

However besides the issues with the main character, the situational plot twists in the story were quite entertaining. The idea of a trial process instead of a governmental overthrow through this sickness, being worldwide, is interesting and unpredictable. If an epidemic of this caliber were to truly hit the world, most would think that not only the US nation but all nations across the world would be in panic, isolating their countries and maybe even preparing war. Scientist of the highest talent would be called for antidotes and finding a true cure. There would be so much more chaos, worldwide mayhem. So to tell this story in just a part of the world and with a trial base project makes a stimulating and a uniquely different perception of how people react. The way of going about fixing the epidemic is wonderfully thought out and Young presents a well-designed base of this concept and an unthinkable theory on what outcomes could happen in such a case.

If one can overlook the side line story of the boy crazed main character, The Program is an entertaining read. However I do suggest that if you dislike reading about suicide and death you may want to avoid this book.

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