Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Book Review: POSSESSION by Elana Johnson

I've been following Elana for a couple of years now, both her personal writing blog and her query critique blog.  I've loved the information she's given on both and was pleasantly surprised when I received an ARC of POSSESSION.  From the back cover:
"Vi knows the Rule: girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them.  But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn . . . and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause?  The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them . . . starting by brainwashing Zenn.  Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag.  jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous - everything Zenn's not.  Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be conrolled. and Vi has no choice but to play."
I don't normally comment on book covers, but whoever designed this cover is amazing. Even if I hadn't received an ARC, I would have picked this book up based soley on the cover, which is absolutely compelling.  My daughter saw the book as I was reading it and immediately asked to read it when I was finished without even knowing what it was about.

A cover like this could be hard to live up to, but Elana's work far surpassed the expectations set by the cover.  I read it in one sitting.  Even though I had things to do, I could not put the book down.  I don't typically read dystopian novels, but I ate this one up like a starved man at a buffet.

The writing is tight and draws the reader in from page one.  I opened the book, read the first paragraph, and stepped into Vi's world.  I lived and breathed the world controlled by the Thinkers; I lived Vi's rebellion, pain, and confusion.

Vi's journey had me anxious, crying, and exhausted.  At times, I didn't know who or what to believe.  Hours later, I stepped back out of Vi's world oddly off-kilter and unsettled. 

It wasn't until I finished the book and read the back cover more carefully that I realized that this is Elana's first novel.  I've read literally thousands of books; I've reviewed a handful, most of which were first novels, and POSSESSION is the only novel that has me astounded that the author isn't a NYT Best Seller.  It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this is her first - usually the author is still trying to find her voice and niche.  Elana writes with the polish and professionalism of someone who has much more experience under her belt.

Do yourselves a favor - visit the POSSESSION website and read the first two chapters for free.  Then pre-order the book, due to be released on June 7th.  I promise, you won't regret it.


Anonymous said...

Are you a Goodreads member? If not, you should totally sign up and friend me! I think you'd love it!

(Yes, I'm pimping the site. No, I'm not being paid by them. I just love it and think my friends will love it too).

Mel said...

I'm putting this on my book queue - your review TOTALLY made me wnat to read it.