The Program, by Suzanne Young – Book Club Event at Boswell Books
Apr 29th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer



Thank you to Boswell Books for hosting our book club! For more info on this fantastic indie books store, check out Boswell Books.

Goodreads Summary:  

For more info: Goodreads

Programcover In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only suzanneyoungsolution 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 take: 

Intense, powerful, suspenseful. Kids are committing suicide left and right. It’s an epidemic. Certain kids are more at risk than others – those who lost a family member or a friend. The Program will make sure that you’ll be okay. Except no one comes out the same. Good memories, bad memories will vanish. You’ll have holes in your life, but hey – if it keeps you alive, it’s so much better than the alternative, right? Or is The Program what’s driving kids to kill themselves?

I read this this ARC for our book club and we all agreed that THE PROGRAM is a fantastic book for discussion. Our conversations about the characters, their relationships, The Program and its impact really made me think. I hope that others will read this with a group, and if not, that there are online discussion groups to add your perspective and to get others’ thoughts. Does suicides breed more suicides? Would you want to lose your memories? Do antidepressants help or add to the problem? All fascinating questions.

At times, I found the book to be quite dark – after all, it is about suicide. The suspense and sweet romance balances some of that out.

Suzanne Young is a terrific writer. Guaranteed to have you hooked.

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Heidi from YA Bibliophile showing us her cool nails and the “ring” connected to the book!

Definitely read with a group if you can!

We truly had lively discussion and enjoyed sharing our perspectives. One thing that we all thought was interesting is that this novel has a dystopian feel, but we wouldn’t necessarily categorize it that way.

HUGE THANKS TO: The awesome Heidi @ YA Bilbliophile for putting this event together for our group. She is so creative and organized. Her enthusiasm is contagious! <3 her!


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Heidi from YA Bibliophile, our awesome organizer! Look at the awesome bags, pretzels, cupcakes she made! Oh and we had jelly beans for our “pills.”

Book Club Questions for John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars
Feb 9th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

Book Club Questions for John Green’s

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars is the first novel that our Wisconsin YA Bloggers/Authors/Educators/Librarians group chose to read for our book club. (We definitely need an official name!) We’ll be meeting this coming Sunday and I can’t wait to discuss it with these incredible women. I’ll wait to post my review, though I will say that I finished the novel in one night, so that gives readers a clue on just how amazing I found TFiOS. I started thinking about different aspects of the novel, which made me curious about what our book club members thought about a particular character, concept, scene. So, I decided to put a SHORT list of questions together and share them on WhoRuBlog. (I am sure there are other study guides. If I run across them, I will link them at the bottom.)

1. John Green has numerous characters with various relationships/reactions to cancer. What did you like/dislike about these characters? How would you describe their personalities? How do you identify with them? Do they remind you of people you know? • Hazel –

• Hazel’s mother –

• Hazel’s father –

• Hazel’s friend Kaitlyn –

• Augustus –

•Augustus’s mother –

• Augustus’s father –

• Augustus’s half-sisters (spouses, children) –

• Support Group Patrick –

• Isaac –

• Isaac’s girlfriend Monica –

• Peter Van Houten –

• Lidewj –

• Dr. Maria –

2. If you could only choose one scene/moment/dialogue that had the most impact on you, which one would it be and why? And don’t say the entire novel – we know!

3. How (if at all) has TFiOS changed your perspective of cancer or those who are living with it?

4. It was important to Augustus that his actions/existence would leave a mark on this world. How does he do that? How do you do that?

5. Hazel uses the word “hamartia” or “tragic flaw” to describe Augustus when he stuck a cigarette between his lips and it also describes Peter Van Houten and his drinking. The differences between these two are night and day – and a brilliant metaphor. What was your perspective/reaction?

Feel free to add your own questions or comments by clicking the “comments” button below. Also, if you find a link for other study guides, feel free to add it. Thanks.

ADDED February 19:

A huge perk of getting the CD version of TFiOS is the incredible seven bonus videos on DVD narrated by John Green. He explains the name choices, the history of how the book came to be, the background of The Hectic Glow etc. We watched them in our book club and I think we all really enjoyed them. It also impacted our discussion, so that was definitely a positive!

Have questions about TFiOS? Check out:  OnlyifyoufinishedTFiOS.tumblr.com (The password is the last word in the acknowledgments) – Please don’t go to this website unless you have finished the novel!

Also for book club, I brought a chicken salad that was inspired by the novel. Though chicken salad isn’t specifically mentioned, food from Holland is included, and this definitely is similar to chicken salads I found on the net for recipes from Holland. This recipe was given to me by my friend, Sarah Kealy. Enjoy.

Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked and diced boneless skinless chicken

1 cup celery

1 cup chopped parsley

1 cup toasted pecans

3 apples peeled and diced


2 Tbs OJ

4 teas Dijon Mustard

salt and pepper to taste

1 teas honey

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/4 cup canola oil

Added 12-17-2012


Hazel and Gus eat dragon carrot risotto. pg. 165

Recipe posted here:


Dragon carrots are PURPLE. They’re not too hard to find, but call around first. I got in touch with an organic farm. For more details from our Novel Cuisine Luncheon check here: http://www.whorublog.com/?p=1570

John Green Week
Jan 10th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

When my friend, the big-hearted, make-people-smile Heidi at http://www.yabibliophile.com/ decided to put together a John Green Week, I decided to join. I had already read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which John Green co-wrote with David Levithan is one of the most unforgettable YA novels I’ve ever read. There were so many lol moments that I memorized page numbers-something I’ve never done before. I also read Looking for Alaska and found the characters to be intriguing, heartbreaking, and memorable.

I haven’t quite finished my John Green Week challenge novel, Paper Towns, so I’ll update this post when I do. But for now, I’m definitely intrigued to see how the main character could find himself in a situation may very well jeopardize everything he’s worked to accomplish in high school and keep him from attending Duke University.

If you need a laugh, take a look at Heidi’s selection of John Green’s vlogs. http://www.yabibliophile.com/2012/01/john-green-week-vlogs.html

Updated: January 18, 2011 My review of Paper Towns as posted on Goodreads:

I read Paper Towns in honor of John Green Week (Jan 3-10) put together by Heidi of YABibliophilehttp://www.yabibliophile.com/2011/11/joh…
The book is narrated by Quentin, a senior who has had a crush on his neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman, Margo has pretty much ignored Quentin for years until one night when she knocks on his window and convinces him to take his mother’s car and help her with eleven various activities, including sneaking into SeaWorld. Against his better judgment, Quentin goes along with Margo’s plan. The evening ends up being quite eventful and life-changing for Quentin and some of the people the visit.
The next day, Margo runs away from home and since she had done it before, everyone is certain she’ll be back. But as days go by, Quentin begins to lose hope for her return and is determined to find out what happened to her.
I love how the mystery of her disappearance unfolds as Quentin tries to figure out what happened to Margo. He hopes he’ll find her alive, but is prepared for the possibility she killed herself. Quentin’s journey is guided by some clues Margo left behind, which he is certain she left for him, including the poem “Song of Myself” by Whitman.
Paper Towns is a fabulous novel with some lol moments. Page 248-250 OMG!
Another John Green winner.

Let’s Eat: A Novel Cuisine – Wisconsin YA Book Bloggers/Librarians Dinner!
Dec 20th, 2011 by Liza Wiemer

Enjoy cooking? Try some yummy food inspired by ten YA novels written by eight awesome authors.

On December 19th, seven Wisconsin YA book bloggers/librarians/book addicts met for our first book club meeting. And what a night we had!!! Heidi from http://www.yabibliophile.com , Rani from Next Chapter Bookstore http://twitter.com/#!/couldberuthless, Jillian from http://heisereads.blogspot.com, Erica from http://www.thebookcellarx.com Sasha http://twitter.com/#!/FzngWizbee, Maggie http://twitter.com/#!/MaggieMelchior and me. We had a blast talking about YA novels we loved from 2011, novels we can’t believe we waited so long to read, novels that surprised us or disappointed us. We talked about the authors who have hilarious tweets and are so wonderful in person. (There are a lot of them!!!!) We talked about how we review books for our blogs and Goodreads. Time flew by! It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time with just the best gals to hang out with and talk books. And I can’t WAIT for our next book club meeting, which is scheduled for February. For more info check out the awesome Heidi’s post! http://www.yabibliophile.com/2011/12/my-book-club-rocks.html

Besides reading and writing YA, cooking is another one of my passions. (I used to volunteer my time and cater events for a non-profit organization. That’s how much I love to cook. 🙂 ) Whenever food is mentioned in a novel, I pay attention. And so I decided to create a menu and cook a dinner as a surprise for our first book club meeting. All the recipes were inspired by YA novels. Some mentioned a specific food, like mariquitas in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Noah and Mara

Mariquitas and Garlicky Sauce inspired from THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin (Click photo to enlarge)

are eating in a Cuban restaurant in Miami, page 222) while others mentioned atype of food, for example Korean in Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Lola runs into Mr. Lim and asks him about his Korean restaurant, referenced on page 9. Lindsey Lim is Lola’s best friend.)

Here’s the menu and the YA novels that inspired the food:

A NOVEL CUISINE (All recipes are vegetarian except the chicken tikki masala, but feel free to substitute tofu)

Pita Chips (How to Ruin a Teenage Life by Simone Elkeles)

Chummus (How to Ruin a Teenage Life by Simone Elkeles)

Guacamole (Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles)

Mariquitas w/ Garlicky Sauce (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin)

Hot-Sour Soup (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, If I Stay by Gayle Forman)

Chicken Tikki Masala (We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han)

Brown Rice (We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han)

Bok Choy and Cucumber Kimichi inspired by LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins

Bok Choy and Cucumber Kimichi inspired by LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins (Click photo to enlarge)

Bok Choy and Cucumber Kimichi (Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins)

Moelleux au Chocolat (Molten Lava Cakes) with Strawberry Sauce

(Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins)

Sprecher* Cherry Cola  (Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, The Duff by Koby Keplinger)

Hot Mint Tea (Timepiece by Myra McEntire)

Water with Sliced Lime (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin)

*Note – Sprecher is a Wisconsin favorite local brewery. Try and find their soda if you can. Once you taste their cherry soda, will will never want to drink Cherry Coke or Cherry Pepsi again!

Click here for ALL THE RECIPEShttp://www.whorublog.com/?page_id=1015

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