Portions of this review were originally printed in the June 14th edition of the Syracuse Islander Newspaper.
Read my interview with Elana here
Food to eat while reading: Jagged Ham
Tag-you’re it. In Possession by Elana Johnson, Vi lives in a society where Thinkers want to control humankind in order to protect them from themselves. Vi wants to control her own destiny—one that includes Zenn. But when she is arrested for being out after dark and kissing a boy (gasp!), she gets “tagged” with a tracking device. When Vi discovers that the Thinkers are brainwashing Zenn, the pieces don’t add up. In order to find out what the Thinkers hiding and why they are targeting her, Vi has to team up with egotistical Jag from the Badlands.
Elana Johnson has been busy getting ready for the June 7th launch of her debut novel Possession. When I caught up with the local Utah author, I asked her what inspired Vi’s story. Elana says, “I asked, ‘What if people had no free will?’ And from that emerged Vi, a girl who would give almost anything to be able to make her own choices.”
Possession is unpredictable and gut-wrenching. Vi’s is the most distinct teen voice I’ve ever read and her character is dynamic and strong, but with endearing flaws. The world in which Vi lives is creative without being overdone. Readers will question, with Vi, what is good and what is bad and what we can truly control.
I found Vi’s realization of her powers a believable progression and though I am not a techy person, I was intrigued by all of the technology in the novel.
It intrigues me how Elana switched to present tense, especially in the last chapter. It penetrated deep into the character. I might try out that device in my own writing.
Possession’s cover is striking. “I think it’s haunting,” Elana says. “It’s taken this iconic butterfly—a symbol of happiness and freedom—and trapped it in ice. But, there’s a drop at the bottom, and it’s cracked. So the images give the impression that the beautiful thing inside can fight back—and win.”
The romance in Possession is not your typical love triangle. The circumstances that Vi finds herself in make her relationships with Zenn and Jag is poignant and melancholy. You will find yourself routing and crying for both.
I love Jag! He’s exasperating and endearing. My favorite section of the book is when Jag and Vi are in prison and she is forced to change her ideas about “bad boys” and even tanned skin. I wish that there were more of this interaction between Vi and Jag and I coasted on the memory of it when I found some of it lacking later on in the book.
When I reached the end of Possession, I didn’t know what to think. I literally gasped when I read the last page. How could it end like this? I wondered. I am still unsure of my opinion on it. I don’t want to spoil the ending for others, so I’ll just say go out and read it and let me know what you think. When I asked Elana if there is a sequel to Possession, she said, “Not really. The second book (a companion) will take place in the same story world as Possession, but there will be a new narrating character, with a new story all their own.”
The companion book, Fugitive, is expected to be published in June 2012.
What to expect:
Possession is a fast-paced ride for readers who enjoyed The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner series. The romance is exciting and clean. There is some moderate swearing. Possession is a fun pick for summer reading.
Published: June 7th 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Where I got it: the publisher*
*The only compensation I received for this review is the book copy. All opinions are my own.