Friday, May 20, 2011

Possession [P]Review!

Today is my stop on Elana's tour celebrating the release of Possession. Before I get to talking about the book, I want to say a couple of things about Elana. If you don't know EJ, well then you're probably not a writer who blogs, but more importantly, if you don't follow her blog, than you're seriously missing out. In fact, if you follow my blog, but somehow managed to come here without ever seeing her blog first, then there is probably something wrong with you. Seriously. Or you just got back from an alternate universe.

Why am I so high on Elana? Well for one thing: look at her. Over there, to the right. Have you ever seen a kinder face? It matches who she is ... perfectly.

Anyway, it's really because she is the nicest published author you will ever meet, and she is the most giving and helpful person I have ever known, though how she manages to find the time for everything she does, I will never know. Every time I have asked her for help, she didn't hesitate. And there are literally thousands of us whose lives and careers Elana has made a difference in.

Thank you EJ!

Anyway, go visit her, and make sure you're following. Now.

Once you've taken care of that, let's get to the book. I mean that is the fun part.

Possession is Elana Johnson's debut young adult novel. Here is the jacket copy:

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

And here is Elana's bio:

Elana Johnson’s debut novel, Possession, will be published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) on June 7, 2011. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for free download. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog and WriteOnCon, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers. Elana is represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary.

Now let's finally get down to why you're here. Sorry, I tend to ramble because I don't have many friends in real life, and I'd rather talk to you all anyway. So: what's my take on Possession?

This book is hard to talk about online, if you're not discussing it with people who've already read it. The reason for this is probably obvious, but it's also one of the biggest things that make this book great.

Since I'm not going to spoil anything for you, let me just start with what I can discuss: the characters.

Jag Barque has quickly become one of my favorite all time characters. I loved him from the very first moment I read his name, over a year ago when Elana was kind enough to share her query with me, and give it some kick-ass analysis as well. Anyway, Jag is hilarious, sarcastic, defiant, and uber-cool. Exactly everything I wanted to be when I was a teenager, except for the awesome spiky hair ala:

Awesome, right? He's also kind, and caring toward Vi. Well, most of the time. The rest of the time he's kind of an annoying snot, but that's really believable, because that's what teenage dudes are like. I know, because I still am one (mentally).

Vi was great to read too, because she was full of questions, and let's just say: a little bit conflicted about how she should feel, and what she should do about her situation. I can't say much more without giving anything away, but I do want to cover just two more aspects.

First, the tech and sci-fi/dystopian elements in this story worked very well for me. It was just enough to make it fun, well paced, full of action, and exciting, without bogging me down with a lot of details, or too much science and technology. I'm a total nerd, but I tend to prefer my details on the original fantasy race language and giant family tree appendix side.

Second, oh man this book has an ending. I would never even mention something like this (because of the chance to spoil it), but it's already been talked about in some major industry reviews. I'm not going to give you any more details, because that would be lame, but I will say this book has one of the best endings I've read since the end of the first Bartimaues Trilogy, and that's saying something.

Thanks so much for making me a part of your tour Elana, it's an amazing experience to get to play even a tiny part in your success.

Now, some notes: my daughter Kylie is also giving her own review of Possession, over on Elana's blog. But you already went over there, and made sure you were following her, so you know that.

The other thing is that Elana is doing this amazing query critique conference call helper outer thingy, on June 23rd. It sounds really amazing, so you should go check out the details, here, at Robin Week's blog.

49 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I loved Kylie's review Matt. I totally agreed with it.

And Elana is such a nice, helpful person. I couldn't agree with you more. She's helped me more than once with my query and it's probably one of the only reasons I finally am happy about it.

I loved POSSESSION too. I loved Vi's voice. Elana nailed is so well. I'm so excited for her debut!

Steve C said...

Elana is a total class act, and it's great to hear that her book is just as awesome.

Theresa Milstein said...

Love Kylie's critique. And I love your picture in the previous post. Reminds me of what I looked like in high school. Not on Halloween.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I can't wait to read Possession. But I've been like that since I first read Elana's query well before she landed an agent. And I loved it even more when I read the first 250 words in the MSFV SA contest.

Kylie's review was awesome. :D

Candyland said...

She's as awesome as you. Great review (that rhymed!). And we all know I heart Elana.

salarsenッ said...

Wow, Matt! Kylie...just grins, again. I'm so excited to get Elana's book! Thanks for sharing your views.

Old Kitty said...

Fab review! I've heard so much about this book in blogland! I wish Elana all the best with her novel!! Yay! take care
x

Liza said...

Great review. It has been fun to read them from the father/daughter perspective! I'd say Elana isn't the only one around here who is nice.

Joanne Brothwell said...

I can't wait to read this book, ever since I did a blog interview with Elana last summer.

Carrie said...

So excited for Possession. I just pre-ordered it yesterday. Can't wait to read it.

Michael G-G said...

Great review. Possession's birthday is fast approaching. Yowzer!

aspiring_x said...

i've heard so many wonderful things about this book!
go elana!!! :)

Christine Fonseca said...

Great review Matt! You nailed Jag...he is such a great character.

Deana said...

Matt you were right, I did find your blog from Elanas...BUT I'm thrilled that I did! Your blog looks great, Elana's book sounds fab and your daughter is on her way to being a star in her own right:)

Jessica Bell said...

Elana certainly is one of the most genrous authors out there. I remember asking her for some help with my query for String Bridge and she didn't even hesitate. I wish Elana the greatest success. She certainly deserves it!

PS: I read Kylie's review! Wow. Give her a big hug from me, and tell her she can guest blog on my blog any time! ;o)

Elana Johnson said...

I <3 you all! THANK YOU Matt and Kylie!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Exciting stuff! I appreciate your review and love Kylie's!

Angela Felsted said...

Nothing better than a good ending, and boy are they hard to find.

Christina Lee said...

AWWW, well you've summed up perfectly why I heart Elana too. So very excited for her--now off to see Kylie!

Aleta said...

I think I just did a sidestep in time to this alternate universe, because you just introduced me to Elana. What a lovely picture of her and a great review of her book. My only complaint is that I have to wait until June 7th?? I'll be sure to check out her ebook "From the Query to the Call." Now... on my way to her blog :)

And thank you for stopping by my blog today. It's always a pleasure to meet more bloggy friends.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I've been hearing a lot about this ending, and it's probably the single biggest reason I want to read Possession - besides the fact that Elana wrote it. ;)

Chris Phillips said...

On my way to Kylie's review.

Paul Greci said...

Great review, Matt!!

Michael G-G said...

Okay, just got back from putting my eldest on the bus to Canada (school band trip), and had time to read Kylie's review. AWESOME!! Talent runs in the family. I hope we see more of her reviews in the future.

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

Can't go wrong with those teen love triangles...

Best of luck, Elana!

L.C. Frost said...

Sounds like this is right up my alley--will be sure to look for it in the bookstore! Congrats and best of luck to you, Elana! May I mention that the cover is GORGEOUS.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I can't wait to read this when it comes out.

Nichole Giles said...

Loved hearing your thoughts about Possession! This was very cool. And I know it's hard to discuss this book online without spoilers, because, well, it just IS! I had that same issue. But you did a great job of it. Really, truly. Kudos.

Fresh Garden said...

Absolutely fantastic!
She is as awesome as I am. I mean, as we are.

Sylvia Ney said...

Thank you for sharing!

Suzie F. said...

Elana is the best and I can't wait to read Possession!

Nicole Zoltack said...

The ending absolutely killed me! What an ending!

I'm Just Sayin said...

Wow, this really does sound amazing and I just LOVE endings that ROCKK! Thanks for sharing.

Lydia K said...

Great review! Elana is one of the most generous people in the writing blogosphere.

Donea Lee said...

Wow - what a wonderful tribute to Elana. I still haven't had the chance to talk to her in person... I had an opportunity to sit in on a query workshop she gave last August and thought, "Wow. That's someone I'd like to know."

A pitch appt. got in the way of talking to her after class, so I looked her up online and found her blog instead. I've been a fan ever since. In fact, she's one of the reasons I seriously started blogging again last year. Lucky you, to count her as a real friend! :)

Can't wait to read the book - thanks for the review. And I loved the tribute to your daughter below, too. So great!

Hektor Karl said...

I sense a spinoff: The Quintessentially Questionable Dad and Daughter Review Experiment.

I think the idea has legs...

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

There IS something wrong with me but I blame Alex. He suggested coming over here. Now, I'll head to Elana's site.
Be well and enjoy the weekend.
Robyn

Jemi Fraser said...

Another great review - 2 for 2 in the family :)

The ending is incredible! As is the book! It's definitely a must-read!!!

mshatch said...

the more I read about this book the more I want it. Great review - thanks :)

Leslie Rose said...

It's great to hear the guy POV. Kylie's review was awesome. Love hearing an authentic teen opinion. And yes, I'm still DYING to read POSSESSION.

Taffy said...

WOW! Awesome review! I couldn't say it better. I was frustrated with the ending in a good way...
GO ELANA!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm so excited for Elana (and of course have her book on pre-order). Great (p)review!

Donna Hole said...

Well done Matt. Makes me want to read the book, and I don't read YA.

.....dhole

RaShelle said...

Great review.
As for Elana- yeah, she's awesome!!!

Robyn Campbell said...

Great, awesomely super fantastic review, MacNish. I <3 Elana. Forever.

I just read POSSESSION and I am possessed by it. Haunted if you will, by her voice. It's awesome.

I also <3 Kylie. She's even cooler than you. *wink*

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for sharing your take on Elana's book! Looking forward to reading it.

LTM said...

very cool--can't wait to get a holt of my copy... and I'm so behind. Have to run over and read K's review~ :o) <3

Yay, Elana!!!

Dawn Simon said...

I can't wait to read the book! Thanks for telling us about it without any spoilers!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Great review! Okay, I've heard that the ending of POSSESSION is amazing from a few people now, so I'm REALLY looking forward to this book coming out!