Hilary Graham's Reviews > Level 2

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
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May 16, 2011

it was amazing
Read in June, 2012

Level 2 is the kind of book that wraps you up in its tension so seamlessly and slowly that you’re barely aware it’s even happening until you’re having heart palpitations. And just when you think you’ve gotten your bearings, Appelhans turns the plot in a way that makes it impossible to know exactly who or what to believe.

Appelhans premise taps into a primal human question—what happens after we die—and delivers the answer through a sharp and twisty plot. Told through the POV of 18-year-old Felicia, this unique take on the afterlife—a place where earthly memories are constantly viewed and reviewed via an otherworldly internet of sorts—isn’t as straightforward as it first appears. Just like the process of self-actualization here on earth, the afterlife gives you access to all of your memories, but replaying your greatest hits will get you nowhere. You must confront the hard memories if you want to move on to the next level.

Felicia is an intriguing character with a checkered past, a good heart, and serious mommy issues. Her boyfriend Neil appears to be just short of Jesus in the compassion department, while her ex-boyfriend Julian’s moral ambiguity is called into question every time we meet him—both in the flashbacks of his life on earth and in Level 2. I’m team Neil all the way, just as I’m a believer in Felicia’s goodness, but I expect Appelhans will take more opportunities for the reader to question exactly whom to trust in the subsequent sequel.

Appelhans unique voice and mastery of story will no doubt establish her as a serious force in the world of YA.
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