Thursday, December 19, 2013

BIR 2013: The Program by Suzanne Young and Dare You To by Katie McGarry

I have not had much time to read many books this year, to my dismay, but those I have read for the most part have been really good. And there are two books that have stood out even more than the rest. These two books are very different, but both amazing. They dragged me in from the get go and have held onto me all year.

I want to start out by apologizing to both Suzanne Young and Katie McGarry. I was to have an interview with both of them to go along with the posts for their books. Unfortunately, I have had some things come up in my personal life which had made it very difficult for me to get back to them with interview questions. I hope neither of them holds this against me, or BCM, and, time permitting, would be willing to participate in an interview at a later date.

I am, however, very excited to feature both of their books on my pick for BIR.

The first of my two picks, The Program by Suzanne Young, I read in May of this year, and knew, even then, it would be on my list as one of my favorites.

The Program
by Suzanne Young
Published by Simon Pulse
on April 30, 2013
Hardcover: 416 pages

The story has a dystopian type feel to it, although I don't know if that is how I would necessarily classify it. I think it is more of a light Sci Fi YA novel.

In the not so distant future, there is an epidemic of suicides in young/teenage children. This is being blame on the fact that they are too emotional, and their feelings are messing with their mentality. At first signs of depression, adolescents are whisked away to The Program where they are put into treatment and come back a new person... almost literally.

Sloane has a boyfriend, good friends, does well in school. Seeing her classmates disappearing one by one, and trying to stay happy and positive all of the time is taking a toll on her. James is Sloane's rock, and the only person with whom she can be herself . Unfortunately, even after enough pressure, and weight, even rocks start to crumble.

There are not enough words I can say that will come close to how much I love this book. It proves to me that no matter how many books are written, there will always be something different, even within its own genre.

To see my original review, go HERE.

The Program is the first book in the series of the same name. Book two, The Treatment, is scheduled to be released on April 29, 2014, and I can guarantee that I will be one of the first people to get it when it comes out. I have to know what happens!

The Treatment (The Program #2)
By Suzanne Young
Published by Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Hardcover: 352 pages

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?

Visit the Official Site of The Program


The second book I chose for my BIR pick is a contemporary romance coming of age story. Set in the present with current issues, and based in a reality that is neither pretty nor ugly, but is life, and what we make of it.

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen
Release Date May 28, 2013
Hardcover: 480 pages 

Katie McGarry follows up her uber popular, amazing, debut novel, Pushing the Limits, with another winner. Dare You To does not suffer from second book syndrome by any means. I read this book also back in May of this year (it was a really good time for books for me), and it is another one that has stuck all year long. I loved it even more than Pushing the Limits (and I did love that book) and Crash Into You (which I also love). Definitely my favorite so far in this series.

Pushing the Limits is Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins's story. In telling their story, we meet amazing support characters. One of Noah's best friends, Beth Risk, finds herself in the spotlight in this book. And in the spotlight is one place she doesn't like to be. The more attention paid to her, the more trouble she gets into, or finds herself in. Not an actual child of the foster system like Noah or the final person in their triumvirate, Isaac, Beth is staying with her aunt and uncle by choice, not placement.

After a horrible situation, Beth finds herself being pulled from the life she is comfortable in, and no matter how uncomfortable it may be, it is the only life she knows, and has conditioned herself for. She is now in a safe, beautiful home in a well to do area, surrounded by people, including her uncle, who know nothing about her and are nothing like her.

Least like Beth is neighbor Ryan Stone. Golden boy, all star athlete, silver spoon all but shining every time he opens his mouth... and blinding everyone to the secrets he is hiding

These two, so different yet not, find themselves pushed together, or is it pulled toward each other? And when two such opposite forces combine, the outcome is inevitable. But is it destruction, or the beginning of something new and amazing?

Katie McGarry writes amazing characters. I want to live in her world, where there are so many fabulous book boys. First Noah, who I just adore. I didn't think anyone could top him, especially some jock golden boy, because although I do love the good guy/boy next door type, I do love the occasional bad boy, especially those with hard candy coating and a soft melty inside. And I don't normally go for the jock, in any case. But in this case I am making a huge exception. I think, so far, Ryan may be my favorite book boy in McGarry's fictional world. After getting past his cocky, dare you/dare me demeanor, I found he is a treasure just waiting for the right person to dig him up. And since it cannot be me, Beth is that person, and more. They are perfect for each other, and complement each other perfectly.

McGarry has made me a permanent resident in her world, and I hope to live there for a long time to come. There are so many characters, and secrets, and ways she can go with these characters, I am on the edge of my seat waiting to see how things turn out for everyone.

To see my original review, go HERE.

Currently out is Crash Into You, Isaac's story (if you haven't read it, I highly recommend you do so soon!):

Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3)
By Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen
Release Date November 26, 2013
Hardcover: 496 pages

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

And coming soon:

Take Me On (Pushing the Limits #4)
Release date: Late May 2014
Hardcover: 304 pages

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.


Many thanks to both Suzanne Young and Katie McGarry. You are both amazing authors, and create worlds that readers can easily escape into, whether they are escaping into paradise or find themselves in The Program.  And for all of the readers out there, especially the ones who may not have read one, or both, of these books, I Dare You To not want to pick them up. They are both a must read.

About the authors:

Suzanne Young currently lives in Tempe, Arizona, where she teaches high school English. When not writing obsessively, Suzanne can be found searching her own tragic memories for inspiration. She is the author of several books for teens, including The Program, A Need So Beautiful, and A Want So Wicked. 

Visit the Official Site of The Program
Visit Suzanne Young’s Official Site
Follow Suzanne Young on Twitter

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website,, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.

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