Jennifer's Reviews > Possession

Possession by Elana Johnson
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's review
May 19, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: sci-fi-dystopia
Read from May 05 to 10, 2011

Possession, yet another new YA dystopian novel, attempts to differentiate itself from the hoards of other books just like it with the addition of a paranormal type aspect. Unfortunately, instead of making the book something more, it often just provides the characters an easy way out of situations.

In Possession, people are brainwashed into thinking a certain way by plugging into transmissions every night. Vi, our heroine, predictably stops plugging in, causing her to not follow the rules and ultimately rebel against the system. As these things often go, she's been pledged to a boy, Zenn, for a while now and continues to love him even though she was obviously brainwashed into doing so. Or at least until another boy came around and showed her some interest. Jag, a rebel from the Badlands, is imprisoned with her and she's drawn to him. She kind of fights it for a little while, but eventually can't resist his bad boy ways.

The appeal of dystopian novels is that our world could eventually become the horrific world in these books. Our world cannot become the world in Possession. While theoretically the government could begin forcing people to listen to brainwashing transmissions in order to make us all fall in line, to my knowledge we don't have people with mind control abilities. A world can evolve in many ways, but without a good, realistic explanation as to how certain people came to possess these abilities, the story just isn't going to strike fear in the hearts of readers.

Vi isn't a bad character, but she can be annoyingly wishy-washy at times. When she first meets Jag and feels drawn to him, some of her reasoning as to why she couldn't be into him revolves around the strangeness of his name. Really? You were planning to spend the rest of your life with a dude named Zenn, and Jag strikes you as abnormal? Vi loves Zenn, she hates Zenn, she loves Jag, she hates Jag, she loves her dad, she hates her dad, she can't make her mind up about any man in her life at all. While all her feelings are at least somewhat justified, it becomes overkill when there are so many mixed feelings. And everyone has a sordid, hidden past which needs to be revealed in a shocking manner. It kind of gets to the point that you just start expecting the absolute worst case scenario is the most likely explanation for people's current behavior.

The ending is the only surprising thing in the novel and it really doesn't make for a satisfying ending. It is most likely a set up for a future novel. Possession didn't work for me on a lot of levels. The book wasn't offensive in any way, it just seemed like it was always trying to outdo itself. The story was difficult to relate to and in the end, I just could care about what happened it any of the characters.
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