Title: Level 2
Author: Lenore Appelhans
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: The Memory Chronicles (Book 1)
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages
ISBN-10: 1442441852 (Simon & Schuster)
ISBN-13: 978-1442441859 (Simon & Schuster)
Reviewed by: Kayla
Everything Felicia Ward thought she knew about the afterlife was wrong.
Killed in a car accident just before she turned eighteen, Felicia left behind friends, family, and the boy she loved, Neil. Now trapped in a stark white world known as Level 2, Felicia and the other drones spend the endless days in chambers watching memories from their lives.
The interminable pattern is broken when someone appears in Felicia’s chamber. Julian, a dangerously charming acquaintance in life, encourages Felicia to join a brewing rebellion against the Morati, the angels in charge of Level 2. Instead of shepherding souls to the next level, the Morati have been keeping the dead in Level 2 indefinitely, upsetting the delicate balance of the afterlife. Though Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, he promises Felicia a way out and the one thing she wants most–to be with Neil again.
Felicia can’t resist the chance to find Neil. She joins the rebels, but there’s more to this battle than anyone–even Julian–knows. Torn between what she’s lost and what’s at stake for Level 2, Felicia finds herself at the center of an eternal struggle–and at risk are the souls of all mankind.
Quick & Dirty: A girl joins a rebellion while also living though her memories.
Opening Sentence: I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Felicia is stuck in a “hive” where everyone lies around and watches clips of their past life or clips from other people’s lives. But she knows there has to be more than that. Felicia and her two friends are the only ones that spend time outside of their memory chambers. But then Julian shows up and everything starts falling apart. Should she join this brewing rebellion if it means rescuing her friends and finding her boyfriend Neil? Twists and ingenious writing mix to create this wonderfully creative and modern story of romance and betrayal, letting go and holding on, and the past and the present.
I love this book, not because it has a creative story plot or shows great writing technique, but because this story paints a perfect picture of modern churches (not the cathedrals and classical stuff). Also, Appelhans uses “memories” as a way to see someone’s life before they died. It’s like flashbacks, but more creative and actually affects the current story.
Although you don’t see actual Neil very much, you do see him in the memories. The perfect golden boy, with an absolutely amazing voice, and his own share of hurt makes a dreamy (ha ha no pun intended) boyfriend. Although there is hardly any competition in the present, Julian presents a threat in her memories. He seduced Felicia into cheating on her best friend and in general, is a creepy maniac that doesn’t understand the definition of love. So, no angst in this book. It’s Neil all the way!
The book kept a consistent pace from beginning to the beginning of the end (did you get that?). Appelhans does a great job of spreading out the twists and revealing secrets…until the end. All of a sudden I’m bombarded with revealed secret after revealed secret and happy ending after happy ending. It made me pause and go back and read parts again because they went by so fast. A little more description or character response please!
I would defiantly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for fresh ideas in literature. Although the main theme isn’t romance, the main drive of “loyalty” and “letting go when you need to” overshadows everything anyway. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next book!
“So why isn’t the underground helping people cross over? That would reduce the Morati’s power.”
“It could,” Julian says, “but people access only their happy memories. Or rent the enjoyable moments of others. Not what they need to confront to move on.” He stands up and moves closer until he’s towering over me. “You were no different, Felicia.”
Julian’s right, of course. I did skip over everything unpleasant. I didn’t want to face my pain. My weaknesses. My fear. But his patronizing tone annoys me. “Still sore that I spent all my time on the net with Neil instead of with you?”
To my surprise Julian folds his arms across his chest and squeezes his hands until his knuckles are white. Is he jealous? I can’t fathom it. After all, he’s the one who ditched me.
Mira squints at him and suppresses a smile. “To move on you must embrace both the good and the bad parts of yourself. And you have to stop pining for earthly pursuits.” She shoots me an especially pointed look. “And people you left behind.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, though I suspect I know what she’s insinuating.
But Julian’s the one to rub it in. “To move on, you’ll have to give up Neil.”
The Memory Chronicles:
1. Level 2 (January 13, 2013)
FTC Advisory: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing provided me with a copy of Level 2. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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