Review: The Remedy – Suzanne Young

Review: The Remedy – Suzanne YoungThe Remedy by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #0.5
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: April 21st 2015
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five-stars

n a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


To say I loved Suzanne Young’s The Program and The Treatment is an understatement. Those books messed with my head in the best of ways. I had a strong ‘what came first the chicken or the egg’ feel the whole time I was reading. It was the best of both worlds as it was real world with just a tiny twist to make it not 100% reality. It was flawless and perfect and amazing and I didn’t think I could love the story any more than I did. And then The Remedy happened to me. I knew where it was going pretty early on. I could feel it as I was reading, wasn’t surprised by the end, or the direction it took. Yet I was blown away anyway. Suzanne Young took a story I loved and made it into more.

The Remedy is a prequel to The Program. Honestly I don’t know the time frame but it has to be a while between books. The story is about Quinlan (love this name by the way) a 17 year old girl that is what is known as a Closer. Quinn has the job of mimicking a person after they have died to help give the grieving family closure. She’s been doing it for as long as she can remember and she good at it. When she is given an assignment that is against the typical one she must figure out a way to integrate herself in these people’s lives while not losing herself forever. And as she starts to bond with the clients things start to unravel in a way no one saw coming.

It’s hard to explain how hardcore I loved this book. There is something about the way Suzanne Young gives power to her words and characters that I fall head over heels in love with. I mean as soon as I was introduced to Quinlan, Aaron and Deacon I was in and I was in deep. Quinn and Deacon reminded me of James and Sloane from The Program. They had this thing about theme that just made them relatable, like you wanted to be part of their group, be the one that had their backs. The story was…just wow. It’s a heavy subject matter, grief, and Young dealt with it in a way that once again had me thinking. It broke my heart to see these families grieving enough to hire someone to play the part of a loved one. But I also understood that every case was one that needed some kind of closure. Just fantastic.

The short of it…read this book. Read this series. Like I said, I had a feeling how things were going to go down and I was still in love. I ached for these characters. I was completely immersed in their lives and their story. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it.

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Blog Tour: Excerpt – Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young (giveaway)

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Blog Tour: Excerpt – Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares by  Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young (giveaway)Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge, Suzanne Young
Published by To the Stars
Published: October 6th 2015
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From the critically acclaimed transmedia project Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, comes one of the most anticipated collaborations in YA literature this year: a thrilling, edge of your seat story written by award-winning musician, producer and director Tom DeLonge and New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young.

Poet Anderson...Of Nightmares follows the epic journey of two orphan brothers, Jonas and Alan, who are Lucid Dreamers. After a tragic car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers to get closer to the Waking World. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson.

from Chapter 11

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by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young

Samantha laughed, watching him for a moment before dropping her shopping bags on the pavement. She stepped closer to Poet and reached out to take his tie, studying it as she let the fabric run through her fingers all the way to the very tip.

“I can only imagine,” she said, lifting her eyes to his. She was so close now, but Poet didn’t think he should touch her. Didn’t want to break the spell.

But he was reminded of Jarabec’s warning that the streets of Genesis weren’t entirely safe. There was a reason he came to Sam, he knew. He was here to protect her.

“We should go somewhere,” Poet told her, his voice low. “I can take us.”

Sam lifted her eyebrows as if she didn’t believe him.

“Close your eyes and think of a place,” he said. When Sam closed her eyes, Poet focused on an empty wall of a building behind her. He concentrated, tuning in to the heat of Samantha’s body, the sound of her breathing, the hum of her soul.

A sense of doubt crept over him. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to tunnel without the fear of a monster or soldiers chasing him, but Jarabec had said that poet’s guided dreamers to safety. He couldn’t let anything happen to Sa- mantha. He’d do better than he had for Alan.

Concern and grief poured over Poet. There was a zap of electricity and the burn, his eyes going white with power. The air began to swirl, wind kicking up as a tunnel formed. Poet looked down at Sam, her face calm as she thought of a place. He smiled and put his palms on her upper arms, feeling her attach to another dream. And then he sent them both through the tunnel.

Samantha gasped, stepping out of Poet’s hands as she looked around, confused at the new surroundings. The tunnel sealed itself and Poet felt his body relax as the energy faded, his eyes returning to dark brown. He was getting good at tunneling, and his pride swelled.

Poet looked around the dream, and then burst out laughing. He and Sam were standing before a set of iron gates, a child’s carousel with tinkering music spinning slowly behind it. The crystal lights danced against the white and pink horses wearing red ceramic bows. Mirrors in the center reflected it all out again. It was pretty—if you were into haunted doll houses.

“This,” Poet asked, “was what you thought of?” He didn’t want to admit he’d been hoping for something a little cozier…like a bed.

Samantha grinned, scanning the place. “Okay,” she allowed. “Maybe not the best choice.” She took a step toward the gate, laying her hand on the iron fence as she looked over the scene. “God,” she said. “I haven’t been here in years.”

“Your parents willingly took you to a place like this?” Poet teased.

“Be quiet,” she replied. “My mother said my taste was ornate for a seven-year-old.” Samantha gripped the railing, leaning forward dreamily. “After my parents divorced,” she continued, “my father would still take me here sometimes. I can’t remember where it is. In fact, Poet Anderson,” she looked over her shoulder at him, “I forgot all about it until I met you.”

I was supposed to meet her, he thought suddenly. “You were lost,” Poet said, mostly to himself. He knew then that Samantha must have wandered into the Dream World, her existence there drawing him to her. And yet, even now, even here where she was safe, Poet’s attraction to her wasn’t the least bit lessened.

Samantha walked over to stop in front of him, gazing up. “How did you bring us here?” she asked. “Should I be scared?”

“Asks the girl who can make a creepy carnival,” Poet replied making her laugh. “Ax-wielding clowns aren’t going to pop out and chase me, are they? You’re sick, you know.”

Sam shook her head, her expression serious. “No way. Killer clowns are third date material.”

Poet adored every word she spoke. “We should just skip to going steady, then,” he said. “I fucking hate clowns.”

Samantha stared up at him, the lights from the carousel reflected and glittering in her eyes. “I recognize you,” she said, guilt crossing her features. “I know you’re the guy from my English class.”

Poet stiffened, feeling exposed. Embarrassed, even. He wanted her to think he was more. “Yeah,” he said, pressing his lips into a self-conscious smile. “That’s me.”

Sam pushed his shoulder playfully. “You jerk,” she said. “First you borrow my pen and then you chased me down on the street to flirt with me. Next day at school, you acted like I was crazy. What’s your deal?”

Poet winced. “It’s not you,” he said. “I can’t remember my dreams when I wake up. I haven’t been able to since my parents died.”

“Your parents? Oh, my God, Poet.” Sam put her hand on his forearm. “I’m so sorry.”

He looked down, not letting himself focus on the grief. “It was a while ago,” Poet said, quietly. “But now I’m trying to remember my dreams again. I have to.” His worry for Alan spiked again, and Poet closed his eyes.

“Poet,” Sam said, sounding alarmed. “Your hands.”

Poet looked down, surprised to find electricity zapping between his fingers. It didn’t hurt; it was a tingle, really. A hint of power, power he wanted to share.

He held out his hand and Sam looked between his face and the electricity. Poet nodded, and Sam slid her palm against his, her breath catching at the initial shock. She squeezed her fingers between his, and closed her eyes as the energy pulsed between them.

Poet watched her. He could feel her heartbeat, and see the rise and fall of her chest. She was so beautiful. “I want to kiss you,” he murmured.

Sam looked at him, the slight pink of nervousness rising on her cheeks. “That sounds like it could be fun,” she said.

Poet moved toward her, the anticipation nearly strangling him. His head was spinning with desire, possibilities. He didn’t think he’d ever wanted a girl so much as this.

Sam cursed suddenly and stepped out of his reach. Poet stumbled forward, his eyes widening. For a moment, the world around him shimmered, fading as if he was surrounded by ghosts, until it snapped back into focus.

“What’s wrong?” he asked Sam when he saw the stricken expression on her face. “I’m sorry. Did I—”

“No,” she said, reaching to take his hands. “It’s not you. You’re great. You’re…perfect.” She motioned behind him, and Poet turned to see the carousel flickering out until it was gone altogether. Erased. Sam was waking up.

Samantha stepped into Poet, wrapping her arms around his neck as she put her mouth next to his ear. “Remember me when you wake up,” she whispered, and kissed his cheek. Poet closed his eyes, but realized he couldn’t feel her lips on his skin.

When he looked again, Sam was gone.

About Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program, The Treatment, and several other novels. She currently lives in Tempe, Arizona where she teaches high school English and obsesses about books.

About Tom DeLonge

Award-winning American musician, producer and director, best known as the lead vocalist and songwriter for the platinum-selling bands Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves. Under his media production company To The Stars..., Tom has created transmedia entertainment properties that span music, film, comics and books. Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares will also coincide with an original soundtrack recorded by the band that you can listen to while you read.

Giveaway:

poet

Two (2) winners receive a personalized special edition signed copy of POET ANDERSON…OF NIGHTMARES and an Of Nightmares t-shirt (INT). Ends 12/23

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Review: The Treatment – Suzanne Young

Review: The Treatment – Suzanne YoungThe Treatment by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #2
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: April 29th 2014
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five-stars

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First let me start by saying that The Program(review) was one of my favorite reads of 2013. And I know, this isn’t a huge deal since I had a bunch of books that I call my favorites. But it is a big deal. Because you know what? I almost never read The Program which would have been a travesty because then I never would have read The Treatment and I would never have gotten to know these amazing characters and the amazing story that Suzanne Young imagined for us. I would have missed out on a fabulous duology and that would have been a shame.

The Treatment picks up like immediately after The Program ends. Sloane and James are on the run know that they know The Program is after them. They did something that few others have done and maintained their connection to one another even after being “cured”. With the help of Sloane’s “friend” from inside The Program, Michael Realm, the two runaways meet up with other rebels on the run and in hiding. But even with allies Sloane and James don’t know who to trust. And if the truth got out that the have The Treatment, more could be at stake than just their memories. Navigating a world and people they aren’t familiar with James and Sloane have to figure out who to trust, what to do and the most important thing of all, are the risks of taking The Treatment worth it in the end.

Seriously, I don’t think I can accurately put into words how much I enjoyed the ending of this series. A lot happened in The Treatment, but it was all stuff that needed to happen. I fell in love with Sloane and James even more than I already was. Did I like the addition of Dallas(I really wanted to toss her over a bridge a couple of times) and the use of Realm(he seriously ruined everything) and the long absence of James(he was missing for so so long that I actually know what Sloane was feeling!)? No. But I loved the story that all of those parts told. Without all of that stuff the pieces wouldn’t have connected and the story would have been boring. Because really, if it gets me that worked up, it is doing its job. I loved how fast paced it was and the back story to beginning of The Program. And I liked the unexpected help that Sloane and James got when they least expected it and when they needed it most.

But what I really loved was the concept. It was amazing in The Program and even more so in The Treatment. You see, I’m not convinced that the suicide epidemic was actually an epidemic. I mentioned in my review of The Program that to me the story was more “what came first the chicken or the egg” and I still got that feeling from The Treatment, maybe more even. The fact that some scientist made a pill that would cure what The Program cured also made me question if the epidemic was man made by creating panic with teens. It’s a thought I can’t really shake when I think or talk about this series.

Basically, The Treatment lived up to my expectations. It wasn’t easy based alone on my feelings for The Program but it succeeded. Young wrote a book that tied all the ends up in a way that made sense and that worked. It even left me wanting a 3rd book, but that’s a story for another day. The Treatment was thought provoking and a great character story. It made you wonder what you would do if you had the opportunity to get your memories back after they were taken from you and how you would feel if you were the only one that could remember. I truly loved it and I thank you Ms. Young for writing an extraordinary tale that was like nothing I’ve read before. I look forward to reading more from you.

My review of The Program is HERE

 

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Review: The Program – Suzanne Young

Review: The Program – Suzanne YoungThe Program by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #1
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: April 30th 2013
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five-stars

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.


Is there a word stronger than love? Infatuation? Obsessed? Crazy over the top awesome? Basically all those words sum up my feelings on The Program. It has everything I look for in a great book. Amazingly compelling characters, a strong, well thought out story, excellent writing, and that great concept of fate and what it means. It reminded me of Delirium from the get go(a little less dystopian in my opinion) and it has quickly become one of my favorite books. And what gets me is that I was in no rush to read it. Sure I had it on my to read list for a long time, but it is hard keeping up with all the books. I figured I would get to it when I got to it. Lucky for me Pulse It was offering a free on-line read so I went for it. Yup, insert HAPPY DANCE! And what exactly is this amazing book about? Well I think I’ll tell you. Because honestly, the description by the publisher, doesn’t really do it justice. I’m apologizing right now for any spoilers. If you don’t want to know, stop reading now.

The Program is the story of Sloane, a very normal 17 year old girl. She has friends and a boyfriend, James, that she is desperately in love with. She goes to school, does her homework and tries to show nothing is bothering her. Because if she for one second shows even an ounce of sadness over some of the losses she has had in her life she will be sent to The Program where all her memories will be erased and she will lose everything that means anything to her.  But as things begin to spiral out of control and Sloane starts to lose everything that matters including herself she learns just how far she’ll go to fight for what she loves and just how powerful love and fate really is in a world where emotions are monitored.

You know, what I think I liked about this book was the two questions it posed without actually saying them out loud. 1) Is there such a thing as fate/meant to be?, and 2) What came first The Program or depression epidemic?. I found both ideas to be really compelling and intriguing and really the back bone of the whole story.  And as much as I liked that idea, I liked question number 2 even more because it got down to the basis of it all. These teenagers were terrified of The Program and because of that they were terrified to feel. Holding in emotion can only lead to one thing and that is a completely melt down. Because they couldn’t feel it was so easy to get down about things. You weren’t allowed to grieve a death or be sad because of a fight because if you were you would be called depressed and immediately flagged. I couldn’t help wondering the whole time I was reading if The Program did exist because of the depression or did the depression epidemic exist because of The Program? Both of those concepts really fascinated me the whole time reading.

I also really liked the main two characters and a few of the secondary ones. Sloane and James were by far my favorites. They carried my interest right from the get go. They had lost so much but had each other and that was enough for them to get by, for a while anyway. But life got in way as it often does and circumstances took over leaving them pretty lost and alone. But even when they are somewhat on different paths their connection is always in the background tethering them together. It’s really quite brilliant and beautiful. And although Realm was a bit of an interloper, to me anyway, I actually didn’t mind him and got his purpose to an extent.  I will freely admit to hating Sloane’s mother. She really irked me. But again I got where she was coming from so I tried to cut her some slack just because the unknown is scary. But I wanted to shake her a few times and tell her to wake up. I wanted to tell her it was okay to let her daughter feel down and it didn’t mean she was going to commit suicide. It wasn’t the feelings that was causing these teens to kill themselves it was fear of The Program. But alas I couldn’t so I cut her some slack.

Basically I loved the whole flipping book, if you didn’t get that from this rambling review. It gave me all the book feels that a great book should and it has stayed with me for a long long long time. Young created a story a love story is what it comes down to, but not the same old love story you are used to. She took the saying “if it’s meant to be it will be” and crafted a witty, intelligent, creative narrative that leaves you hunkering for the next piece of their story. Even the epilogue excited me(which they normally don’t) and had me curious how that final piece of information will be put into play. Bravo Ms. Young. You are officially on my author auto-buy list.

 

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