Thursday, August 9, 2012
Surrender & Regret by Elana Johnson
You may be wondering why it has taken me so long (almost 2 months) to review a book I've been looking forward to for a year. A month of traveling for one and two, I wanted to be able to read it quickly from cover to cover because I knew I wouldn't want to put it down once I started it. I was right. So, I saved it to read at the beach. The anticipation of reading a really good book only heightens the experience of reading it, unless of course it turns to be a disappointment. Neither of these books fall into that category.
In Possession we follow Vi and Jag strictly from Vi's point of view. In Surrender we meet them again, but primarily this story follows two other major players in the upcoming rebellion, Raine and Gunner, and the story alternates being told from their two points of view. The dual point of view I get was a necessary tool to tell the story and executed successfully, but I have to admit it hung me up to be switching heads every chapter. This mechanism allows you to get to know and love both characters very well and certainly progresses the story, which the majority of the time is fast moving action, a must I believe for YA. If you don't keep the teen reader engaged, they're going to move on to something else: their Ipod, smartphone, Facebook, whatever. I also give top marks for dialogue and creating a different but relatable world, which is tough to do, ask any writer that's attempted it.
Once again, when I reached the end of this book, I wanted to throw it against the wall (which I didn't because I read it on my Nook). One, because, just like in Possession, Ms. Johnson leaves us majorly hanging. AHHHHH! I wanted to scream, but didn't because I was in a town house full of sleeping kids. Two, because when a book is so good, you cringe to get to the end and know that it is over. Third, the only redemption I have for the major cliff hanger ending is the knowledge that this is a trilogy and in a year, I hope, there will be closure to this story that isn't a cliffhanger or I will have some serious words for Ms. Johnson. (Just kidding. Elana is an excellent writer and in my opinion the Queen of Query. If you need to know anything about querying, go see her blog to get educated. www.elanajohnson.blogspot.com .)
One thing I have to throw in as mom about these books. As I recall there are two 'naughty' words in Possession. I don't recall any in Surrender. (Other reviewers and Ms.Johnson feel free to correct me if I am wrong.) There is also kissing; that doesn't bother me. It is not gratuitous or graphic. Use your judgement as to what age YA you would hand this book to. I have a twelve year old niece who I think would love these and has trouble getting into books, but I hesitate only on the naughty word point. I have slightly less reservation with my high school nieces. It's one thing for them to hear it in the halls at school and another for me to put it in their hands as an aunt who feels responsibility for any part I take in their development. Still it won't stop me from recommending it once they hit sixteen or eighteen. There's plenty of guy stuff in here for the boys too, hoverboards for one.
This is the short story that tells us about Indy, one of the rebellion leaders we meet in Surrender. It's short but gives great insight into her character and how she came to be who she is when we are introduced to her in Surrender. It is aptly named and certainly up to Ms. Johnson's standards. Enjoy.
She also has one more short novel called Insider Information where you can learn more about the characters in her stories. I haven't downloaded it yet. But it's there and calling my name.
You can get all of her stories at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
So, what YA dystopia do you recommend I read next?