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Rashika, The Book Owl

So my name is Rashika and I am weird. I read a lot (duh) and I watch a lot of TV. I also like to review. Check out my blog (where I co-blog with awesome people).

The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program - Suzanne Young

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so confused about a book. On one hand I enjoyed it and on the other it goes against a lot of my opinions. The main reason I was able to read this book at all without tearing all my hair out was because I did my homework and stalked the hell out of this book before reading it. The reviews told me what to expect and the ‘possible disappointments’. 

It took me a while to get off my ass and to actually write this review. I took too many notes and seriously sorting through all of them is kind of hard. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much to say.

I’ll say what everyone else has said, do not expect this book to be a meaningful read about suicide. It’s not. 


I think that was one of the things that really bugged me, this book made suicide seem like a disease that was contagious instead of showing it for what it actually is, a psychological issue. It disturbs me how these teenagers can commit suicide without a reason and without even thinking twice about it. Most of the time there wasn’t any reason (at least from what I gather). It’s what the main character says, one day a lot of teens started committing suicide. 

To add to that our main character isn’t really suicidal so we only have second hand experience of what it must be like. See when I first found out about this book I thought we would have a main character who has to fight depression and fight the urge to give in and make the pain go away. So really we don’t see anything about suicide, it’s just (standing) there (in the corner), not really explored to the extent which it could be. 

I usually avoid books that are about sensitive issues such as this one because I know it is very likely that the book won’t be able to capture the seriousness of the issue or do it justice and that is exactly what happened in this one.

Furthermore the dystopia really annoys me. I used to be a huge dystopia fan but with so many stories that read along the same lines I kind of just gave up. They make things seem so black and white (this is of course a generalization, I’ve read dystopias that don’t do that), and that is exactly what this book does. The Program people are the bad guys and the teenagers are the good guys. What really disturbed me about this was how The Program ‘cures’ this kids of ‘suicide’. How can someone take such a serious thing and well mock it? I know I know it isn’t really mocking but how can you make people who are trying to cure this issue the bad guys? Of course I am not saying that The Program people are the good guys in anyway and that is exactly my point, how can people who are trying to accomplish something good be turned evil? To me it seems like they were bad for the sake of being bad and not because they actually had motives. These kids aren’t allowed to feel, they aren’t allowed to mourn for their friends, they are forced to bury all their feelings deep within, if that isn’t going to cause depression what is? And that is my point. How does The Program gain anything from erasing these kids’ memories for the sake of a cure?

The cure itself…umm I don’t get it. I don’t understand how a bunch of pills can take your memory away. I am sure in the distant future that would be possible but technically speaking, this book takes place 4 years from now (well 4 years from a time when things were normal which I am assuming to be our present). Things like that just don’t happen that soon, it takes years and further more I am not sure how it really cures depression in the first place.

I personally didn’t want to know about The Program and what happens in it. I wanted to know what was going on in the outside world and how people were being affected by this, the whole program part of the book? The only good thing about it was some of the memories about her and James. I didn’t want to see her losing bits of her memory bit by bit because well I value memories. They make you who you are.

The only relationship in this book I actually liked was her and James’ relationship. That was the saving grace of this book (well technically the whole first part of this book). I think their relationship is one of the best teenage romances I’ve encountered. You know they are in love and it’s actually believable because they don’t sit around making googly eyes at each other, they support each other and well you know they are teenagers so their relationship has a physical element to it as well. 

I absolutely despise her parents (her mom in particular) and I hate the fact that I do. What is it with YA portraying parents the way it does? I actually share a rather good relationship with my mom so I guess maybe that’s one of the reasons I am so baffled. How can the mom not understand in the least what her daughter is going through, I know you’ve lost one child but how would stripping the remaining child of her identity be any better? It’s just sickening. Oh sure she is doing it for her daughter’s good but I personally believe that it’s totally selfish of the mother. 

Our main character isn’t that bad except I thought she was too dependent on James in the beginning, I may have understood it but I felt horrible for James. He is so focused on trying to make sure that everyone else makes it through that he cannot focus on his own pain and I think that’s why he kind of just lost it. 

Miller was a great character but we saw next to nothing of him. I thought the author was going to go somewhere with him but I was wrong. He committed suicide and that closed his chapter. I am sorry if I don’t believe his reason for doing that in the first place. You are an effing teenager, you do not know the meaning of true love, you cannot kill yourself over that, you have friends who love you, parents who love you. Why would you do that? And what more, HOW could you give up so soon? Seriously. If things can work for James and Sloane I am not sure things would have worked out for Miller eventually.

Realm. I don’t even know what to say about him. I didn’t care about him at all. I don’t even understand how he fell in love with her in the first place. Oh wait of course he did, she is the main character, why wouldn’t he? The world revolves around her does it not? Also he was kind of an ass so bleh I don’t care about him.


I think what sucks about the ending however is the fact that she isn’t going to get her memories back. First she is whining about her lost memories and what not and then she is like I’d rather remember Realm as a hero. NO! And all those people who died deserved to be remembered DAMNIT! You cannot just forget them as if they never existed. That’s HORRIBLE! Plus memories make you who you are, if you forget some of the best and the worst moments of your life, then who are you really?



I guess I make it sound like I hated this book but despite all my issues with it I cannot seem to hate it. It was an okay read and if you know what to expect when you dive in, then you won’t be disappointed and have the same issues as I did (and some other people as well).

This review has also been posted on my blog