'Possession' is a fast-paced dystopian romance

By Teri Harman

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 4 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

"POSSESSION," by Elana Johnson, Simon Pulse, $16.99, 416 pages

Dystopian novels are taking over the young adult book world. "Possession," the debut novel of local author Elana Johnson, is an interesting new addition to this fast-growing collection of novels.

Vi knows the rules, but that doesn't mean she will follow them. In her world, the Thinkers control everything from the clothes to the food to who people marry and to the thoughts people think. In her world, free will does not exist, yet Vi refuses to be controlled. However, the Thinkers are not easily ignored, and they are determined to make Vi one of them, even if it means brainwashing her future match and best friend Zenn.

After what seems like an innocent kiss in the park with Zenn, Vi is arrested and taken away, without a word as to why. In prison she is faced with a choice: Join the Thinkers or run away with Jag, a fellow prisoner. Jag is egotistical, charismatic and unpredictable — everything Zenn is not. Despite her reservations, Vi escapes with irresistible bad boy Jag and finds herself caught in a whirlwind of surprising events. Along the way, she will discover deeply hidden secrets about herself, her family and the men in her life.

This dystopian love triangle is a bold new offering for young adults. Vi, the main character and narrator, is snarky, sarcastic and likable. She is strong-willed but still unsure of her world, which keeps her believable. Johnson's fantasy world does not quite achieve the cohesiveness that others have, but it is still intriguing. The writing is average and there is mild foul language used throughout. The story moves quickly and is easy to read. Teen girls will enjoy this fasted-paced romance. The unexpected ending will leave readers blinking in surprise and hoping for more.

"Possession" will be released on June 7, and its companion novel, "Fugitive," is slated for publication in June 2012.

IF YOU GO ...

What: Elana Johnson book signing and reading

When: Wednesday, June 8, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: www.kingsenglish.com

Also ...

When: Saturday, June 11, 2 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Teri Harman writes and reads from home amid the chaos of three young children. She blogs at book-matters.blogspot.com

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