Possession

Elana Johnson, Author
Elana Johnson. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2125-7
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Paperback - 405 pages - 978-1-4424-2126-4
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4424-2391-6
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A dominant but corrupt government is one of the most familiar tropes in dystopian fiction, and Johnson's debut novel sets up a dichotomy between "Goodies," residents of the Goodgrounds, where behavior is controlled via brainwashing and omnipresent technology, and the "Baddies," who live out in the Badlands. Violet Schoenfeld, on the brink of 16, is arrested for being out after dark with a boy—two infractions in an endless litany of acts forbidden to Goodies. A repeat offender, Vi is forced to share a jail cell with a Baddie, Jag, and she begins to reassess the precepts that have been fed directly into her brain from childhood. Johnson's writing is solid, and if her plot unfolds a bit too schematically (the precise orchestration is supposedly due to the perfection of the villain's control), Vi's rebellion and process of change ring true. Some readers may question Vi's acceptance of some fortuitous events along the way, but most 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. Ages 14–up. (June)
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