Review: The Program

by - 2:24 PM

Genre: YA Fiction, Sci-Fi, Romance, Dystopia
Year: 2013
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Before I begin, I have to make a disclaimer: I read (heard?) this as an audio book, with Joy Osmanski as the narrator. I might've liked this book more if she didn't do such a poor job of reading it, but at the same time, the book still had a lot of problems.

A short synopsis: in the future suicide is a global epidemic, with teenagers being the most at-risk. In an attempt to remedy this, The Program is started in the United States. Although it has a 100% success rate, no one who enters The Program comes back as themselves.

Sounds really interesting, right? Nope! I've never read anything by Susanne Young, but this book makes me want to stay away from her forever. The premise is really interesting, but there are so many issues with how Young executed it, that I can't in good faith recommend it to anyone.

First: the protagonist, Sloane, suffers from Bella Swan syndrome. Instead of talking about any of the interesting things that are happening, she just talks about her boyfriend, James, over and over. I understand that she's in love but she has no depth -- even Bella Swan had a line about being into English literature, what does Sloane like? We don't know. Although Young does reveal some of Sloane's personality through the dialogue, which is funny and realistic at moments, overall Sloane is uncharismatic and uninteresting. Which, of course, makes her hard to sympathize with.

The next thing that I hate about this book is its portrayal of depression, and their "cure" for it. Apparently, depression is like a virus, and if you hang out with someone who has it, you might catch it too! Not only is this idea toxic -- it's simply not true. I'd like to believe that readers of this book have the discernment to realize this but I'm guessing a lot of people don't, which makes the fact that this book exists even worse.

I could literally do a page by page analysis of how poorly this book is written but then I'd spend more effort than this book is worth. To put it simply: avoid this book.

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