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The Program | [Suzanne Young]

The Program

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, April 2013 - This fresh take on dystopian YA draws on the lives of everyday teens to build a realistic world complete with young love, and well-meaning, but overprotective, parents. It starts out with a strikingly unique premise: With a growing depression-related suicide epidemic among teens, infected teens are whisked away to The Program, a form of in-patient intensive therapy meant to heal the behavioral contagion. But it seems to involve a little more memory-wiping than counseling. Our heroine, Sloane (what a name!), is smart, savvy, and madly in love her boyfriend, James - with whom she witnessed her own brother’s suicide. This is a book that speaks and relates to the unspoken issues teens see in the real world: self-harm, the brave face, long bouts of depression, and the wish to just make it all go away - whether that be through running away, memory loss, or even death. This would have been my favorite book when I was 15, and the relatable sense of angst will definitely appeal to Twilight fans. Joy Osmanski is a fabulous YA narrator - I’m excited to listen to her take on Sloane. —Erin, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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.

Includes a bonus interview with the author.

©2013 Suzanne Young (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

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  •  
    Readers Confession Deltona, FL, United States 06-03-13
    Readers Confession Deltona, FL, United States 06-03-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dry narrator somehow worked well..."

    I really just want to gush about this book that it's so hard for me to write this review. I have to slow down, step back and think about this coherently. It's been 2 days since I finished The Program and I haven't started listening to another book YET. This is not my norm...I end one, I start one. I just can't get this one out of my head. Okay...let me back up.

    This book has been on my TBR since I first read the premise last summer. I'm chosey about my dystopian and YA books especially but this one just sounded so interesting to me. I've seen mixed reviews about this book and after I was told the audiobook was good, I didn't hesitate. I listened to this book in 2 days. I usually just listen on the car rides to and from work, but this book was so addicting that I just COULD NOT stop. My addiction was to the point that my husband was even taking notice. LOL

    I've seen other reviews and it seems like others are upset about the premise of the book "suicide as an epidemic". Listen...if you are SUPER nit picky about science not working out perfectly in your book, then this book may annoy you. If you want to read a book for the enjoyment and aren't going to harp on the tiny details, YOU'LL LOVE THIS ONE!!!

    Okay, review really below.....

    The Program is told only from Sloane, the heroine's POV. She is living in a time where suicide has become an epidemic, an epidemic that caused the loss of her brother. Teens are struggling with their raging emotions but aren't able to fully express themselves for fear of The Program. Tons of people have bought into the propaganda including teachers and parents. There are handlers watching students at school all day long for an signs of distress.

    There are 3 parts in the book. The first part Sloane tells us about her world. We learn about her relationship with her friends, her parents and most importantly James, her boyfriend. All of the students in her high school are scared of The Program. The only thing they know is that after 6 weeks in The Program the once "sick" teens are now blank slates and have lost their memories.

    Sloane and James have been together for two years and are madly in love with each other. These two are just adorable together. They are trying to be strong for one another so that they don't get sick. There is only so much that they can do when everyone is getting sick around them, so Sloane and James are faced with the likelihood that they will enter The Program. Since the book takes place with them already been together for two years, we don't see their love blossoming first hand. We do get to see them present tense, as well as Sloane's past memories (some flashbacks) and hear her feelings for James.

    I don't want to spoil most of the book but readers do learn the ins and outs of The Program, including how their memories are taken away. Sloane continues to be very strong throughout everything. No matter what has happened to her, she continues to stand up for herself and what she believes is right.

    There are several great secondary characters including Miller, Lacey and Realm. Tons of twists and turns in this one. Jaw dropping incidences that had me completely baffled. Realm...oye Realm!! Realm made me want to love him and kill him at the same time.

    The Program is a love conquers all book!! “If it's meant to be, you'll find each other again.”

    **Note- This book is for mature YA readers. There is cursing and sex (not graphic at all) in the book.
    (Fans of Shatter Me series would love this book!)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Fan Princeton, NJ 07-07-14
    Mary Fan Princeton, NJ 07-07-14 Member Since 2011

    Sci-fi/fantasy junkie, storyteller, devourer of books, workaholic

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Badly executed - a waste of potential"

    Wavered between giving this book 2 stars or 3, since it's really a 2.5 in my head, but decided to be a bit more generous on that front because the subject was interesting enough for me to read it in the first place. But man, did it have issues.

    Let me start by saying the premise is really quite good. The idea of suicide being an epidemic and treated as an actual disease, caused by external factors, and not a problem with individuals, was a great perspective. Mental health is and should be treated as being as important as physical health. And the writing was quite decent. Sloane's emotions come alive on the page, taking the reader deep into her psyche. That kind of storytelling takes skill.

    However, the plot was... boring. Very basic. The whole book is just about Sloane going through the program. About a quarter to a third is spent establishing how evil she finds the program (the one-sided view of it was a bit annoying) and how much she luuuuuurves her boyfriend, and the rest is just her going through the system.

    And there were major character issues. While Sloane's emotions are well-described, she is not a very well-rounded character. Actually, that's an understatement. All she cares about is her boyfriend, and she is literally no one without him. It's no spoiler to say that the program takes away memories, and the whole time, she keeps saying that they're taking her very self away. Yet the only memories they focus on are those of her boyfriend. So, without her boyfriend, she's no one. And when he's gone, she latches onto another boy. Boys, boys, boys. She never shows an inkling of interest in anything else. We don't know what she wants to be when she grows up, where her interests lie... nada. Her whole world revolves around BOYS.

    And her boy of choice, James, is flat as a board. Generic hot jerk who gets away with it because he's... hot and has issues. But treats her like dirt, then apologizes, and she comes crawling back. It's actually quite emotionally abusive, when you think about it.

    Also, for dystopia readers, this is actually much more of a contemporary YA book than your usual dystopia, since it takes place in modern day US and, other than the program itself, features all contemporary stuff.

    So suffice it to say it was a struggle for me to finish this book, which had so much promise and squandered it. To the sequels, no thanks.

    Do not recommend. Stay away.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LL CULVER CITY, CA, United States 06-27-13
    LL CULVER CITY, CA, United States 06-27-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Wonderful New Series"

    I bought this one to listen to with my daughter and wasn't disappointed. The story is very timely and made for many long and interesting discussions with her about suicide and being able to show true emotions. The characters are typical teenagers. Unlike some books where the characters are perfect in every way, Sloane and James have the same feelings and fears as many of the teens I know.

    I don't want to give away any of the story beyond saying it is much more than a book about teen suicide. At the end of the book, the author talks a bit about creating it and the story line of the next book in the series. Very exciting!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dasarae Locust Grove, VA, United States 06-13-13
    Dasarae Locust Grove, VA, United States 06-13-13 Member Since 2013
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    "One of my favorites!"
    Would you listen to The Program again? Why?

    Yes! I've already listened to it twice and now my daughter is listening to it. The story is very intriguing and performed very well. The story leaves you wanting more.


    Any additional comments?

    I cannot wait for the sequel!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Pingree, ND, United States 05-28-13
    Linda Pingree, ND, United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Absolutely loved it!!"

    I started listening to this and I knew my students would love it. Several of my students listened to the audio and also bought it for their Nooks. They liked it better than The Hunger Games. We all hated for it to end and can hardly wait for the sequel. Our school library is getting it for sure.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandra Costa Rica 05-07-13
    Alejandra Costa Rica 05-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Liked it a lot, not loved it"
    Would you recommend The Program to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would recommend it, even more if they are parents of teenagers that are reading it (I'm 33, so my friends are more likely to be parents than to be teenagers themselves).

    It has an interesting subject matter, different from other young adult books I have read, more close to our everyday society and enhancing some important issues that are a reality in the teens: the first love, facing the loss of your love ones, social pressures and expectancies, depression, suicide… and I'm pretty sure a lot of teenagers are going to feel really identify with some of the situations described in the story.

    So yes, for those who like young adult books I would recommend this one.


    What about Joy Osmanski’s performance did you like?

    I liked Joy Osmandi's performance, it was believable in terms of emotions and I think she accomplished all characters pretty well, easily identifiable.


    Do you think The Program needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I don't have to guess in this one, the end of the book is so open that is made for a follow up and in fact in the short interview with the writer at the very last chapter she confirms even the name of the sequel, not the date. And to be honest, I would listen the sequel, this is the kind of book that can keep me entertain enough as long as it keeps going with an interesting story.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. B. McLeod 07-15-14 Member Since 2010
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    "The Program is WONDERFUL!"
    Where does The Program rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Program ranks on my list as #3 best audiobook series I have listen too! Great for a car trip to GA!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Program?

    The program itself is a great and twisted thought!


    What does Joy Osmanski bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Joy brings the story to another of a heart moving story a couple is not allowed to be together after the program and find each other still!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was creeped out about Roger and I did laugh once of twice also was on the edge of my seat the entire time!


    Any additional comments?

    GREAT! AMAZING! HEARTBREAK! CREEPY! ILOVEITSOMUCH Cant wait for book 2 !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    suzanne Ottawa, ON, Canada 05-16-14
    suzanne Ottawa, ON, Canada 05-16-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The pieces just don't add up."

    ***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***

    The Program is an evil bad thing where teenagers get sent if they show signs of depression. ALL TEENAGERS show signs of depression at some point. I just couldn't suspend my disbelief on this point - I was really hoping the book would explain the sociological background in which people (big bad parents in this story) would willingly send their children to have their memories erased. The grownups in this book are portrayed as uncaring (the doctors, handlers, parents) and I just can't fathom a world, even an alternate universe, where people care so little about their own children. The ONLY treatment for signs of depression is memory erasure. Not therapy. Not talking it out. Not even mild exercise. Your kid's depressed? Have her memory erased. WTF?

    Teenagers go from normal to suicidal in a matter of 2 weeks - WHY? This is never explained. Why are so many teenagers committing suicide - we're told that its a contagious disease - are people being poisoned? Is there mind control coming out of the TV? I was really hoping there would be some revelation about the causes of the epidemic.

    When Sloane gets taken in to The Program, the very first time she is offered medication she takes it. Without being coerced. Without being injected against her will. Without even being threatened to be injected against her will. This is totally believable because she spends the first part of the book talking about how evil The Program is and how they will erase her memories.

    When she comes out of the program, she seems to be the only person who is interested in learning about her past. Another point which I found hard to fathom.

    At no point in the book is any differentiation made between grief, sadness, and depression. Everyone is sad once in a while, and grief is normal and expected when someone close to you has taken their life. But not everyone who is sad or grieving commits suicide. Not all people suffering from depression commit suicide. So why are these teenagers killing themselves? Unanswered questions might make a book more interesting, but in this case it just makes it hard to believe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katharine 04-26-14
    Katharine 04-26-14
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    "Wonderful. Till the End."
    Where does The Program rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Maybe 3rd? I have had thoughts such as the characters and provoked tears many times. it is such a sad book but brings hope to every act of defiance from the girl.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    James. He continued to act like the old James, when the girl changed dramatically. very frustrated, but continued to wait for their realizations to kick in.


    What does Joy Osmanski bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    At first her voice was very bland, but as I continued it played in favor of the characters and had just enough emotion to make me understand the mood of the book and situations.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Will you remember?


    Any additional comments?

    I want the author to make this a series, just so we can know what happens to Sloan and James. And if Realm will make different choices with the new girl! Pleaseeee!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Chicago, IL 02-18-14
    Amy Chicago, IL 02-18-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Horrendously miscast narration"
    What disappointed you about The Program?

    The book, thus far, is decent. The character is a depressed teenage girl - think Kristin Stewart. The narration performance sounds like a fifty-something mother of four, with no ability to do other voices. Dialogue is impossible to follow because the men and women sound the same. I didn't think it could get worse until she attempted a character with "a slight British accent." I rarely want to switch to the text version, but this time I might have to.


    What other book might you compare The Program to and why?

    The Delirium series. It's YA dystopian romance with a heavy focus on depression.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Joy Osmanski’s performances?

    I will actively avoid them.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was frustrated and depressed as I went through the story with the character, seeing her missteps and feeling her pain. I was even more frustrated trying to reinterpret the story around the horribly miscast narration.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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