Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review: The Program

The Program
The Program by Suzanne Young

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Program was an unusual read that tackled the topic of teen suicide in a dystopian-like society. In this world, there is an epidemic of teen suicide and The Program was created to try to "cure" these teens and prevent them from killing themselves. In order to avoid being flagged and carried off to "The Program" by a handler, teenagers had to be very careful to show no emotion other than happiness and never draw attention to themselves. And these teens definitely felt that The Program was to be avoided at all costs, since everyone who returned from The Program was drastically altered, their memories wiped clean.

I thought that the premise was interesting but too full of holes to be plausible. This story requires that the reader suspend a great deal of disbelief to accept the plot as it is presented. However, it was enough to keep me glued to the story from start to finish. The problem with the thin plot is that it makes the characters less than believable and even a bit annoying at times. The main character especially seemed like the proverbial "damsel in distress" always putting herself in positions where she needed to be rescued. Which brings me to the "almost" love triangle. Bleh.

The positives were the relationship between Sloane and James and the suspense of the story. James was extremely likable, flaws and all, and I thought their relationship was sweet and tragic. I was definitely rooting for them against all odds throughout the story. The "other" guy was a bit too shady and he never worked for me as a possible love interest. I'm generally uninterested in the romantic aspects of books but in this instance, James & Sloane were a couple that made me want them to succeed. I was also pulled along by the suspense in the story, wanting to know what was going to happen, where the story was going to go, wondering if the MC would somehow overcome all of the obstacles against her.

The Program, for all its faults, was an engrossing read. I don't know that I would describe it exactly as dystopian, but it had some dystopian-like aspects such as that all-powerful government that does what it wants with impunity. I would recommend this for fans of dystopian but with the warning that this is a bit different than what one would expect from that genre.

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