The Program by Suzanne Young

Disturbing picture for the youth of The Program. 

The Program by Suzanne Young
Simon Pulse | ARC paperback, 416 pages

This book left me at odds. While I don’t want to sit here and spew sanctimonious bullshit on how this book propagates drug use as a cure-all for suicidal tendencies, I can’t deny that part of me that wants to hide it from my daughter. But I must admit that there are other worst books out there that triggers my censorious inclinations and this one isn’t really all that bad.

The thing that bothered me a little is that teens are killing themselves for no reason other than perhaps a chemical imbalance treated by a continued supply of drugs. Kids were imbibed, sometimes, forced to take the medications intravenously, until they’re practically an empty entity – not even a version of what they used to be.

Here, suicide is a contagion and an epidemic that was spreading in teens which had no technical or biological explanation. I mean we’ve all been taught that small children and old folks are more susceptible to contact communicable diseases but that didn’t bear any consideration in this book. It was far-reaching, to be honest. Personalities, memories, identities are taken away and any extreme emotions like loving someone other than your kin becomes the source of the disease that they cut out of their lives. And for every teen that killed themselves, there was no known traumatic event that acted as the trigger for the suicide. They go into bouts of depression until they could no longer cope. But then again, if the mind is not healthy, then there’s no guessing what it could conjure.

Imagine a world where all your emotions are bottled up inside; where the kids resort to purposely hurt themselves as an excuse to cry. Parents become the enemy who acted like the emotions police and kids are always on a suicide watch. Every twitch that shows a flicker of sadness and they’re on the horn to get their kids picked up. It was depressing, bleak and scary enough to induce a nervous breakdown. In my opinion, it had only become an epidemic because kids were scared of their own parents. So much so that they’d rather kill themselves than go through The Program.

Sadly, this book’s saving grace was the romance. James and Realm left me conflicted. A love triangle done well, a heroine who knew who she wanted and who didn’t torture me with the annoying practice of waffling between the two boys in her life. Even in her non-lucid moments, she was able to distinguish the wrongness of being with one than the other.

Even if I had a hard time buying into this book, I can say in all honesty that I am a little appreciative of the author’s balls for writing a book with such sensitive themes. I think it just wasn’t researched well or the creativity didn’t reach its full potential. It could’ve been so much better. I originally gave this book four stars but now that I’ve given it much more thought, I had to downgrade it.

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars