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Book review: 'Surrender' is a thrilling, fan-pleasing sequel

By Teri Harman

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 2 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

"SURRENDER," by Elana Johnson, Simon Pulse, $17.99, 480 pages (f)

Raine follows the rules, as every good citizen of Freedom should. But she also follows the rules because her father is the feared Director, the man who makes and enforces all the rules with the help of the Thinkers, a group of mind-controlling officials. Raine does everything that is expected of her, including using her secret and incredibly powerful talent to aid in her father's malicious cause. That is until she meets Gunner.

Gunner also has a powerful talent, and the Director decides it's time for Gunner, at 17 years old, to use that talent to help keep Freedom under control. But after Raine pulls Gunner into the world of the Insiders, a group of underground rebels, he is determined to use his talent to destroy the Director and Freedom.

While working for the Insiders, Gunner discovers that his father was not the man the government told him he was. In search of the truth and his father's journal, Gunner asks Raine to help him pull secrets from her brainwashed roommate, Vi. But when those secrets start to point to Fredoom's most guarded prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque, Gunner, Raine, Vi and her match, Zenn, race to create a plan that may finally bring down the oppressive hold of the Director and his Thinkers.

Utah author Elana Johnson's new book "Surrender," sequel to her debut novel "Possession," does not disappoint. Her quick, no-nonsense writing, with snarky narrators and great action, pulls the story along at a thrilling pace. Her characters and her dystopian world are sharper and more engaging than in the first installment.

Different from most series, Johnson introduces new main characters and new perspectives that are refreshing and interesting. But she also includes the main characters from the first book as friends of the new characters, which offers cohesion to the overall story. The narration switches between Gunner and Raine, making the book appealing to teen girls and boys.

This new book is a great dystopian young adult read with a heart-pounding cliffhanger ending that will have fans begging for a third book.

Parents should be aware that the narrative includes occasional mild foul language, a few kissing scenes and some mild violence.

If you go ...

What: Elana Johnson book signing and "Surrender" launch party

When: Tuesday, June 5, 7 p.m.

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

Web: kingsenglish.com

Also:

What: Elana Johnson book signing

When: Thursday, June 7,7 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. Her bi-weekly column, Book Matters, appears on ksl.com. She also contributes a monthly book club segment to "Studio 5." For more book fun, visit book-matters.com

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