Review: The Program (Program #1) by Suzanne Young

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Goodreads Summary:

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

My Review

The Program has been sitting on my Audible app for a year now. I honestly had completely forgotten about it until about a month ago. The concept of this book is just so surreal and intriguing! Don’t get me wrong, it’s also a beautifully vulnerable premise that had me feeling kind of down while listening to parts of it, but overall, Suzanne Young did a fantastic job!

The Program takes place in a dystopian type world that isn’t quite end of the world status but kind of is at the same time, at least for all young people. Teenage suicide has skyrocketed to such alarming rates, that the US government implements The Program, a “therapy” system that takes depressed teens and wipes their memories to prevent them from killing themselves and then proceeds to send them back out into society! Wow, right?

The story focuses on the couple: Sloane and James, two lovers who find strength in one another in the middle of extremely desolate times. However, just when you think there’s no way these two can crack, things go south fast. This book was entirely different from anything I’ve ever read! The dramatic irony in The Program was through the roof!! I commend Young for taking a character’s narration to a whole new level as the main character evolves in completely mind blowing ways. I sat there listening to this book in the car thinking, how the hell is she [Suzanne Young] gonna swing this?! I started to get angry and mad at the plot, but the way it played out just worked. I felt for the characters and for the human need to feel sad, and how completely OK that is!

By the time I reached the ending, I was left wanting closure for what had happened to these poor characters and could not wait to dip into the second and last book! It’s only a duology folks! Although there are multiple novellas. I am currently listening to book two and really liking it so far! Review to come.

I would most definitely recommend reading The Program if you are looking for a new scifi dystopian read! Buy it on Amazon here! 

Review: Specials (Uglies #3) by Scott Westerfeld

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Goodreads Summary:

“Special Circumstances”: The words have sent chills down Tally’s spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor — frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally’s never been ordinary.

And now she’s been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.

The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.

Still, it’s easy to tune that out — until Tally’s offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she’s programmed to complete. Either way, Tally’s world will never be the same.

My Review

Well, after having not been too pleased with Pretties (Uglies #2) I had really hoped that I would enjoy Specials. I was wrong. Book three had the same repetitive plot that the first two books had.

Recap of the ending of Pretties: Tally finally finds Zane and David after spending a lot of time in the “wild.” However, she arrives to see Zane worse off then ever before but refuses to leave him when Special Circumstances arrives and takes them both away.

So naturally Tally becomes a “special” if you didn’t already assume that from the title. Once again we have a plot in which Tally is taken and becomes something she doesn’t want to be and then decides she likes it for a while until she doesn’t and wakes up again. So that’s essentially every plot of this series which gets old fast. Though I will say there was a lot more action/suspense in Specials than the past few books, but I still didn’t enjoy it all that much. There just weren’t many new things to take in. The ending went in a different direction I expected but I was glad it did, and the romance also finally took a turn that I liked. Based on the final events, I’m surprised there even is a 4th book. The series could have ended the way it does in Specials prompting me to be even less inclined to continue the series.

If you have been reading the series up until this point, I would recommend stopping at book three unless you really are eager to read more of this universe. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very impressed with the series overall. Maybe if I had picked up the books years ago before I had read so many dystopian books, I might have enjoyed them more.

You can buy Specials on Amazon here.

Review: Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfield

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Goodreads:

Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect.

Perfectly wrong.

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.

My Review

Pretties was an unexpected addition to the Uglies series. I can’t say that I disliked it, but I wasn’t entirely pleased with it either.Pretties starts off not too long after book one ends, with Tally now fully made into a Pretty and living the supposed “high life.” She has very limited memory of everything she went through to get where she is, and all that she sacrificed for her friends. That is until someone from her “ugly” past shows up and tells her about something that was left behind for her to find. Driven by curiosity and her fuzzy memories of the past, she sets out to find the answers she’s been looking for and to become “cured” once and for all.

This sequel was more aggravating than it was enlightening over all. I was really quite surprised by the direction the author chose to take the story in.Particularly the direction in which he took the romance. First of all, not nearly as much plot development occurred as there should have been. I blew through this book don’t get me wrong, but when I noticed I was on page 200 and not much had really happened to further the growth of the characters, I started to get concerned. I mean yes, the book naturally moves quickly because it’s a fast read in general. However, I didn’t think Westerfeld would take up so much time describing Tally’s journey to get where she needed to be. Which now that I think about it, is exactly the way the first book was structured as well.

Pretties was good enough to read and continue the series with, but not good enough to say that I really enjoyed it. Naturally, the story ended with a cliffhanger once again, therefore prompting me into being forced to continue, even though I’m not sure as to how pleased I will be with it. I love the characters and the entire concept of this series, I guess I just expected more from it. I will definitely be reading book three: Specials.

I would recommend reading Pretties if you are already invested into the series, if only to see how everything works out. Buy it on Amazon here! Or buy it at your local Goodwill (that’s where I found mine).

 

 

Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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Goodreads Summary:

Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear, and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide, and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

First published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is a classic novel set in the future when books forbidden by a totalitarian regime are burned. The hero, a book burner, suddenly discovers that books are flesh and blood ideas that cry out silently when put to the torch.

My Review

Yes, I am one of the rare souls who hasn’t read Fahrenheit 451 until now…is it bad to say that I read it just to read it? Well that’s what happened. I’m a fan of dystopian novels and I know this is basically one of the most renown dystopian novels out there, so I knew at some point in my life I had better read it!

My feelings toward the book are a little hard to explain. I was not overly pleased with it, but I’m definitely glad I read it. I think Fahrenheit 451 is a story that can be especially appreciated by book lovers, I mean this book is about books and their effect on society and what would happen if they were no longer apart of our life. I admired how thoroughly the impact of literature or lack there of was described. There were some very powerful passages that had me putting the book down just to contemplate what I had just read. Montag is not your typical lead character, he doesn’t have much of a history, but he does have a depth that is gradually developed as he realizes his greater purpose in life. The lack of depth in Bradbury’s dystopian setting is made up for by his metaphorical and intriguing writing style and descriptions.

Well at least now I can say I’ve read this classic. I was scared the ending would be dissatisfying, but it actually concluded on a much more positive note than I expected. It would have been interesting to see what Bradbury would have done with a sequel.

If you’re like me and haven’t read Fahrenheit 451 yet, pick it up on Amazon here!

Review: Uglies (Uglies #1) by Scott Westerfeld

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Goodreads Summary:

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world– and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever…

My Review

There were definitely obvious similarities between Uglies and other dystopian novels I’ve read. However, I appreciated the creativity of the story over all.  Tally was an interesting female lead, one that was forced to endure a transformation (not actually a physical one). Her evolution as a character was lovely to read about and made me respect her so much more by the end of the book.

In this dystopian society, you are born an “Ugly” and when you turn 16 you undergo the operation to become a “Pretty” and may then live in “New Pretty Town.”  All Tally has ever wanted is to get her operation and join the rest of her friends to begin partying and having fun for the rest of her life. However, everything changes when she befriends a girl who has an entirely new perspective. Soon she begins questioning her reality and what it truly means to be “pretty.”

Uglies was a quick enjoyable read filled with self introspection and a glimpse into a totally different society. The characters were varied and the overall concept was unique,  however it was hard not to compare it to books such as Delirium or Divergent. Although I’m pretty sure Uglies came out before both of these series, I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading a copycat. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Uglies, I did. I just felt I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t already read so many other dystopian novels. The story still had twists though, and by the time the ending hit I was pretty hooked. I’ve got to know what happens next!!

Despite it’s similarties to other young adult books, I would still recommend Uglies to dystopian fans! Buy it on Amazon here.

Review: Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

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Goodreads Summary:

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

My Review

Delirium was just like any other dystopian novel, besides the fact that love aka the “Delirium” is considered a disease that the government has developed a cure for and makes mandatory for every U.S. citizen when they turn 18 to receive. Sympathizing with lovers or “invalids” is strictly forbidden, but a rebellion still lurks in the shadows nonetheless. Pretty interesting premise right? That’s what I had always thought. I guess I was just looking for a little more out of the story in general.

Lena begins as a star citizen, looking forward to the day she receives the cure, that is until she meets Alex. She then discovers who the true enemy is and what it means to actually truly love. Secrets are revealed and she soon  realizes she will go to great lengths to keep her love, even if it means leaving everything she knows behind.

I enjoyed Lena and Alex’s characters for sure! It was intriguing to see love develop out of such hesitation. It was even more bizarre to read about characters and a society that didn’t know how to love. However, it felt like most of the story was all set up and slow plot filler in between a few really good moments. Quite honestly, not a whole lot happened in this book. I mean clearly it’s leading up to a great anarchy of some sort which brings me to the point of the predictability of the story. Although I will say that the ending was super shocking and had my jaw dropping. It was heart wrenching and baffling. Now I have no idea if this series is worth continuing. I’ve heard some pretty negative things actually.

I suppose I liked Delirium well enough, but after that ending I don’t think I’ll continue with it. You can buy Delirium on Amazon here.