Sunday, April 12, 2015

Teen review: True feelings forbidden!

The Program
by Suzanne Young
416 pages
Realistic fiction/Dystopian future, part of a series
Suggested for 8th grade+

Reviewed by Michelle M., grade 8

In The Program, suicide has become a global epidemic that is exclusively targeting teens. Teenagers all over the world have become "infected," and are compelled to kill themselves. Their tragic deaths then infect the minds of their close friends and relatives, which can put them at risk for suicide as well. However, in this bleak future, a hope shines through. That hope is the Program. The Program supposedly cures teens of their depression by cutting out the infection. But, the so called "infection" lies in every person's mind, and so, in order for them to be safe from self harm, their memories must be sacrificed.

Sloane lives amidst the chaos and fear that she’ll be the Program’s next victim. Her brother, Brady, who used to be her best friend, committed suicide before the Program got to him. Sloane faced the tragedy bravely, but almost let herself get caught up in the darkness. She would not have made it, if it were not for her boyfriend James. James promises Sloane that he will never let them be brainwashed by the eerie Program. Their past and the memories they have carved out are much too valuable to be lost, but as each of Sloane's and James’s friends are slipping away, it is nearly impossible to stay transparent under the careful and criticizing eyes of the dreaded Program.

The Program was such an experience and an unforgettable book. Sloane's and James’s strong relationship makes you want to cheer them on during every second that you read it. It's a unique love story about survival and testing the limits of fate, but it’s also thrilling and will have you on edge on each nail-biting page. I really enjoyed this book; it made you hungry to know more. The story line is very complex and has many plot twists to keep you entertained. It also ties one very real element of our world today with an fascinating idea in a dystopian future. When I read it, it kept me up at night wondering and trying to unravel the secrets between the pages. The characters seemed real and acted very human. One of the main things I liked about the story was how persistent Sloane and James were, but without being unrealistic.

I thought this book would be appropriate for mature 8th grade and above. There are some mild sexual references, but it's not too explicit. It's definitely not for kids, though.This book also deals with suicide, which can be a sensitive subject for some people. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Editor's note: The sequel, called The Treatment, has been ordered for the Buena Vista branch and should arrive shortly!

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