Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Series: The Program
Rating: ★★★★★

I don’t keep my depression a secret. I’ve been to the bottom and fought my way back and I’m proud of that. Something about The Program got to me though. It took a while for me to figure it out, but once I did, I only loved the book more.

Sloane lives in a world where suicide is an epidemic, something that spreads from person to person, killing as it goes. Teens aren’t supposed to show grief or be upset. Crying can get them pulled away from everything they know and put into the Program. Memories are erased, leaving teens as a shell of their former selves. For Sloane, she’s watched even closer. Her brother committed suicide, leaving her more susceptible to the same fate. James, her brother’s best friend and her boyfriend, is watched closely as well.

I adore Sloane and James. Their relationship leapt off the page and had my heart beating faster. James is the perfect mix of cocky and insecure. He clearly puts on a brave face, but lets it down when he must. Unfortunately, this also leads to his downfall.

This is the part that had me invested even more. The idea that depression is something that needs to be hidden, that putting on a brave face is better than being true. It hit extremely close to home because for years, this is what I did. I ignored everything my head was screaming at me and acted as though everything was fine. I managed to keep the act going until I finally cracked. I did this because of the stigma that accompanies depression. I didn’t want to be seen as weak. For years, all I had heard was that I was so brave and strong for dealing with my disease while keeping a smile on my face. I felt that if I admitted how draining it was and how much I hated it, or how often it made me cry, that I would be letting everyone down.

The Program is the fictional version of that stigma. It represents the idea that pushing thoughts and feelings aside, instead of dealing with them, is the cure. Granted, suicide is not an epidemic, but I can see it heading that way. I felt so completely connected to Sloane as I read. Her feelings and thoughts hit home. I could not stop reading because I had to know what came next for her. I spent the entire novel rooting for her.

I didn’t expect The Program to hit me like it did. I figured it would leave some impression, given my connection to pieces of the subject. As I read more, though, I felt myself being drawn further and further into the novel. I’m extremely glad I read this book and I’ll definitely be reading The Treatment.

If The Program sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young

I was feeling a little “eh” about A Need So Beautiful. It was good, but it was missing something. A Want So Wicked made up for that and then some. My eyes were getting foggy as I read my way through the book; it was that touching and wonderful.

A Want So Wicked picks up where A Need So Beautiful left off. We’re thrown right into Elise’s life, all the while knowing where she came from, even though Elise doesn’t have any idea. It was a little easy to pick up on the good and bad in the novel, but that didn’t make me enjoy it any less.

Harlin was even more wonderful in this book, and even Abe’s charms worked on me every once in a while. Lucy was a fantastic secondary character. I felt for the relationship between Elise and Lucy, it’s the type of sister relationship I wish more novels had.

Elise had me tearing up. As much as Charlotte’s story pulled at me, Elise’s did tenfold. Her confusion around her life and feels was so well written, it made my chest hurt. I wished more than anything the story would end differently than I knew it had to.

The ending was perfect and yet I hated it (in a good way). I’m just going to hope and wish there will be a third novel. I want more of Harlin and Elise/Charlotte’s story.

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

I’ve had this book on my to read list ever since I came across it last year. I made myself wait until A Want So Wicked was out because I was hoping hard I’d love it and the wait between books would be too much. A Need So Beautiful was a good book, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations, unfortunately.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book. Definitely. But the balance was a little off and that kept me from completely enjoying it. Nothing makes me happier than when the action side of the plot and the romance side of the plot balance each other out and make each other stronger. In A Need So Beautiful the angel aspect of the story isn’t explored as much as I’d have liked while the romance was given just a little too much attention.

While the love between Charlotte and Harlin was sweet and it provided some of the most touching moments of the novel, it also overshadowed the angel part of the story. What I did read about Charlotte being a Forgotten was done wonderfully and beautifully. I would have gladly read an entire novel about that, even without a love interest. Sadly, Young tended to put a lot of unnecessary focus on Charlotte and Harlin’s relationship instead of on Charlotte’s purpose.

In the end, A Need So Beautiful is a book that had amazing potential, but fell a little short. It’s still a good read, and if you like the angel genre, it’s a good read, but it just didn’t quite live up to expectations.