Monday, April 18, 2016

Nazareth Blogger Leah reviews The Program by Suzanne Young

Hello TBF readers! My name is Leah Schaffer and I am a graduate student in the literacy department at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY.  After graduate school I plan to become an inclusive classroom teacher or a literacy specialist.  I am very excited to share with you some information on my new favorite book.  This book is The Program by Suzanne Young.  The Program is a young adult fiction book that is part of the Program series and falls into the science fiction genre.

The first time I read The Program I choose it because I become extremely engaged in science fiction texts.  Specifically at the time, my favorite series to read was the Divergent series written by Veronica Roth.  I had truly enjoyed the whole dystopian and young love themes that were presented throughout the series. As a result I decided to find another series that I would enjoy to read just as much.  So one day when I was at the library I saw this book that had an almost all white cover with some yellow standing out.  This drew me to the book right away.  Instantly after I read the short summary, I was hooked. 

The Program focuses on a teenage girl named Sloane as she attempts to remain true to herself, despite living in a chaotic and dystopian society.  It is chaotic because people are fearful of what they are calling the suicide epidemic.  In order to end this epidemic “the program” is created.  This is a program where any teen that appears depressed will be taken away from their family and friends, in order to be rehabilitated in an institution.

 So I bet know you are thinking “what is so wrong with that as long as the person is getting help and their life is being saved?”  Well here is where the book gets really interesting.  When a teen enters the program, their memories are gradually taken away from them until they cannot remember their friends and important life events such as their first love.  The program takes these memories away because they are seen as potentially harmful to the teens.  However, with no memories the teenagers return home lost and confused.  This is why Sloane attempts to do everything in her power to avoid admittance into the program.  Doesn’t this book sound extremely unique and interesting?

I really enjoyed this book because it was super easy to relate to the characters as I read. As a reader I progressed through the book and witnessed Sloane flashback to important memories in her life and saw her make new memories.  However, as the book continued I then witnessed Sloane slowly start to lose her memories and herself, until I eventually knew Sloane better than she did herself. 

I would like to offer a warning however to future readers of this book or series.  The struggles that people with depression face are explicitly represented in this book. For example, the following quote is from one of these scenes which occurs right before Sloane enters the program during chapter fourteen of the first section, “I’M CHEWING ON MY LIP AS I DRIVE, TEARING AT THE flesh, wincing when it burns.  My lips are chapped from crying in my car day after day, but I don’t care.  My hair is knotted and uncombed.”   This scene illustrates the intense emotions that Sloane faces throughout most of the book.  At the same time this scene shows us how actual people struggling with depression feel.

 Despite the fact that this book represented people with depression as people that need to be taken out of society until they are “fixed”, scenes like this one help us connect with the characters and gain a better understanding for people struggling with depression. Basically, I think this book can help readers feel the opposite way about how to help support people with depression.  Overall I highly recommend that anyone looking for an engaging and unique book read The Program by Suzanne Young.

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