Book Review: Level 2

Level 2 CoverBook: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Published January 2013|Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|Pages: 288

Source: E-book from the Nook Store

Series: The Memory Chronicles #1

Genre: YA: Dystopic/Paranormal

Goodreads|Lenore Appelhans’ Website

Summary: Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).

‘I pause to look around the hive – all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories … I’ve wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.’

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend … and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.

Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.

I really don’t know what to think about Level 2.  I was super-excited about it but having read it…I just don’t know.

Here’s what I liked: It’s definitely an interesting take on the afterlife, and I like the idea of different levels and only being able to move past level 2 when you’ve made peace with everything’s that happened in your life.  I liked how angels were involved, so it’s also gives a dystopic novel a paranormal twist, which really is an interesting combination for me.

There’s a lot about Felicia that I found interesting.  How she died, her life on earth, all of the places she lived because of her mom’s job…her relationships with Neil and Julian.  We see a lot of her memories, and I feel like there’s a lot more to her than what we get to see.  And since she’s dead, we see things as she remembers them, which is something I liked too.  Memories really can be a strange thing.

But while there are things I liked and were intrigued by, I just couldn’t completely connect with the book, the characters or what was happening.

It was a lot more philosophical than I was expecting, and which isn’t a bad.  Actually, it was nice to see a different take on the afterlife.  But there’s just something about it that I just didn’t care about, and I’m not completely sure what it is.  I mean, we do see Felicia’s memories and how some of them connect with what’s currently going on in Level 2.  And I liked her memories of Neil, because he is what is connecting her to Earth and one reason why she can’t move on.

I so wished I was more into the book, and could connect with it a little more.  Just when something’s revealed, you’re off to the next big reveal, and I never felt like things had a chance to sink in, because things kept happening.  I think…I just didn’t find Level 2 as a setting particularly interesting.  Sure, it’s the afterlife and I totally get the whole viewing memories until you’re ready to move on part of it and PARTS of level 2 itself were fascinating…but at the same time, something about it didn’t quite work for me.  While it doesn’t need a lot of explanation- which we do get in the book- I kind of wanted more details about Level 2 as an in-between.  It’s not that what we learn wasn’t enough, because it was.  It might just be me, because I was expecting something slightly different.

Final Thoughts:

I liked parts of Level 2, but I just couldn’t completely connect with it.  I liked seeing Felicia slowly come to accept that she’s made mistakes and can’t change and is finally able to move on.  Overall, though, Level 2 was just okay for me, so I give it 2 stars.

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