Friday, June 7, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

After staying up quite late last night and getting up early this morning, I finished this book and can hardly wait to share it with people. I haven't read anything by Suzanne Young before (you can check out her blog here) , but you can be sure I will be buying more of her books! In this book, suicide is an epidemic. Teens between the ages of 13 to 18 are killing themselves in large numbers. It is believed that these teens have a disease and the only way to cure them is to enter The Program. The Program is a 6 week regim where teens are cured from having any thoughts that will make them sad or anxious. But when these teens come back from The Program, they seem empty and can't remember any of their friends. The main character in the story is Sloan, she is trying to play the game of keeping all of her emotions in check. She tries to avoid bringing any attention to herself and just keeps her head down. She does this all day at school, but she is also aware of her overly sensitive mother and so even at home she can't express how she really feels. Only with her boyfriend James can she share her true feelings. Even though James has promised to keep her out of The Program, Sloan is worried that he won't be able to do that. Things seem to be getting bad for both of them, depression is setting in and they are both afraid of what will happen next. I loved, loved, loved this story. As a mom I can totally understand the desire to do everything you can to keep your child safe and protected. But I also know that you can't go through life being safe and without emotions. All emotions are real and everyone has set-backs and sad things that happen to them, you need to learn to deal with them, not pretend they don't exist. I love the relationship between Sloan and James, two teenagers who are in love and trying to survive in a world gone mad. Their story and their personality made this book such a great read. I know that they will live with me for a long time. I do have to say that there is some mature content in the book. I would be hesitant to share this with anyone younger than grade 7. The mature bits are handled in a very careful manner, but it would still give me a bit of a pause when considering who I would give the book to. I think the message and the story is well worth the risk though.

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