Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: Possession

Media Type: Book
Title: Possession
Author: Elana Johnson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: Hardcover; 416
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Source: Publisher/TBS
Intended Reading Group:
Young Adult

Content Screening:
Mild violence

HDB Rating:
3 Keys to My Heart

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even thinkabout 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 controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Possession was a book that really took me some time to get into. At the beginning, I was enthralled with the dystopian world that Elana Johnson had built. Vi lives with the "Goodies" who are closely monitored by the Thinkers. They are told what to wear, where to live, and there are so many rules in place that Vi feels stifled. Of course that leads her to want to break them. Who else is worth breaking rules for than a boy after all? After walking in the park with her friend Zenn one evening, Vi is arrested, and that is where things started to get really confusing and I lost my sense of connection with the book.

I understood Vi's character. I can't say I particularly liked her, since her personality was really impulsive and kind of abrasive, but I understood her. She just wanted to be free of all the things that were holding her down and her anger was her defensive mechanism.  Zenn was a interesting match for her as well, because he was more of a rule follower. I think. Sometimes it was tough to tell exactly what side of things he was on. There's periods in the book where it feels like he might be a mole, and then other parts it feels like he might be a traitor. I honestly never did figure out where his loyalty lies. Then there's Jag. The gorgeous bad boy who Vi is thrown into jail with. He was my favorite character, because his snarky attitude only slightly masked his sweet undertones. I think of all the characters he definitely had the most depth.

When I say that things were confusing, what I really mean is that there are a lot of things that happen that just don't click together. I won't deny that I loved the dystopian world that Elana Johnson built for her characters. The concept of having the Thinkers monitor literally everything was amazing. However the story line starts to break its own set rules after a time. Vi is thrown into a jail cell with Jag, after the book just finishes explaining that men and women are never put together. Then, as she starts to journey with Jag, I found myself even more lost by the chemistry between them. It seemed to me to be out of character for Vi, who initially thought Jag was bad news. I began to wonder if maybe I didn't know Vi's personality as well as I thought I did.

For me, the saving grace of Possession was the mystery. As Vi struggles to learn who she is, and why the Thinkers want her, the reader is treated to little snippets of information about her past and her future. I'll admit that there were still times where I wondered how Vi knew so little about herself, but I chalked it up to the fact that she grew up in a society that stifled her. Vi and Jag have special abilities, which I won't disclose to you, but really add an element of intrigue to the overall plot. It was this addition that really started to draw me back into the story, and helped me finish Vi and Jag's journey.

I realize this review is a rambling mess, but so are my thoughts on this book. I enjoyed the story for the most part, and of course fell in love with Jag, but there were a lot of times that I didn't feel like the plot line followed it's own rules. The dystopian world that was built was amazing, but there wasn't a lot of time spent on delving deeper into it, since Vi and Jag journey away. What I'm trying to say is that this is a good book. It really is. It's the little things, the parts that kept me from being fully immersed, that kept it from being a great book in my eyes. Overall I think Possession is a read that dystopian fans will enjoy. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll see more of Vi and Jag soon, so I can find out more about them.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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