Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Plot Summary:
In the Goodgrounds, the City of Water is inhabited by citizens who do what they are told and how to think. In the Goodgrounds, no one every leaves without authorization; no one goes into the Forest; guys and girls are never allowed to be alone, nor are they allowed to touch one another. In this world, everyone abides by the rules or face incarceration. For Vi, she is willing to risk her freedom, and her life, to be next to Zenn, her match. After receiving a commlink from Zenn, Vi takes a long and dangerous trip out of the City of Water to meet up with him at the Special Forces compound. What she didn't realize is that the reason Zenn had her come all the way out there is that he was going to tell her something very important. However, their conversation was interrupted by a Hovercopter. Although Vi swears she has done nothing wrong, the Hovercopter is there to take her to the Green: the base of Thinkers. Not sure why the Thinkers would be after her, Vi is preparing for the absolute worse. The thing about Vi is that she is a but of trouble maker. In other words, this wouldn't be the only time that she was busted by the authorities, which is not only good, but rather unusual for a mild-mannered, rule abiding Water citizen. When her hearing started, she learned the real why she was there: she is a Free-Thinker and a threat to Goodgrounds. After being banished to the Badlands, Vi is devastated and angry. What's worse, is that she is locked up with Jag, who is an escapee from the Badlands. For Vi, this punishment is not only unfair, but she will meet the same fate as her father who was also exiled. What she didn't count on is that everything she has ever known, and learned, is a lie and the Badlands is not what its supposed to be and she will soon discover the truth behind her father's disappearance and her sister's untimely demise. Furthermore, the more time she spends with Jag, her future with Zenn slips away. 

Critical Evaluation:
 Johnson has created a world not only devoid of individuality, but of humanity itself. Every section of the world is divided amongst character traits and duties. For Vi, the City of Water is a place where serenity and obedience are its greatest strengths as well as its ability to create citizens who are gifted. However, somewhere in the gene pool, the traits to become great inventors skipped Vi and gave her the rebellion gene. The greatest thing about Vi is she is nothing but a typical teenager; however, in this realm, its against the will of the Thinkers for teens to be anything but mailable and well behaved. Vi is strong, independent, opinionated, and not afraid to speak her mind. More importantly, her free will is what gets her in to trouble and that is why she lands a one way trip to the Badlands. One of the main issues explored in this story is the struggle for freedom from oppression, but celebrating our individuality and the ability to feel. When I think of this story, I am reminded of the movie, Equilibrium, starring the gorgeous Christian Bale, where human emotions are suppressed with discipline, fear, and reliance on mood altering chemicals. The motive behind not feeling, or, in this case, touching, can stir up feelings and ideas that could lead to utter ruin. For Vi, she wants nothing to be touched and to be loved because, to her, it's worth risking everything and that is dangerous for any organized hierarchy or specific way of life. Humans are unpredictable and it is absolutely impossible to control them so the Thinkers have established the routine of ridding Goodgrounds of it's bad elements by banishing them to the Badlands. However, what they don't realize is that the Badlands are thriving. In fact, they are doing so well they are infiltrating Goodgrounds to bring it down by stealing technology. Despite the fact that she has lost Zenn and her home, Vi sets out on a journey to not only uncover the truth behind her father and sister's death, she will do everything in her power to bring an end to the Thinkers. Although this story is very similar to Ally Condie's Matched, Possession will keep the reader hooked despite the many similarities. 

Information about the Author:
According to her website:
Elana wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.

Using her boring human powers, she graduated from Southern Utah University with Summa Cum Laude honors in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics. She started her teaching career as an upper grade music and art specialist. After a four-year stint in 3rd grade, she is currently the technology specialist.

In her world, Oreos and bacon would be the only food groups. Everyone would drive 10 over the speed limit. Winter would be eliminated as a season, and Jeff Probst would be President. As it is, she lives with her husband and two kids in central Utah, gets cited when she drives too fast and eats Oreos only on special occasions.


Genre:
Teen Dystopian Thriller, Teen Romance

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up
 

Books Similar to Possession:

Awards & Recognition:

From Amazon.com:

“Who Should Read This: Anyone who wants a challenge: This plot is so twisty, I had to read the last chapter twice before I could believe what happened. There's also a very nice balance between badass action and romantic tension for readers who like a good mix of the two.” –MTV.com

“Most [readers] will be drawn in by the love triangle, revelations about Vi and her family, and a dark twist ending that maintains the faintest glimmer of hope.” --PW

"[T]he super-cool, surprise ending...stays entirely true to the plot....[T]he romantic tribulations...may serve to draw romance fans into the sci-fi side....[T]he setting is developed with care and detail, making for a vividly drawn alternative world. Fans of Matched (BCCB11/10) and other recent romantically focused additions to the dystopiansub-genre may wish to add this to their reading list."
-The Bulletin

“This debut novel fits neatly into the latest dystopian fantasy craze. Readers will enjoy tough-as-nails Violet ‘Vi’ Schoenfeld and her two love interests, Zenn and Jag.” –Library Media Connection

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Deborah Takahashi
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My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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