By Elana Johnson
Expected publication: June 7, 2011
by Simon & Schuster
Summary: 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.
I first picked up this book from Simon Schuster as an E-ARC and then last week when I got a paper copy in the mail you know what I did? Something I’ve only ever done with a handful of books…I read it again. The paper in my hands and the awesome cover was too big a temptation to pass up. I loved Possession even more the second time around with it’s layers of meaning and depth. Once you know what’s going on with the main characters and reach the surprise ending, I’m sure you will want to do the same.
I felt an immediate draw to Possession’s protagonist Vi with her sarcastic, fiery personality. She is one strong 15 year old who stands up for herself and isn’t afraid to throw punches. Victoria Schoenfeld is a water worker living in the Goodlands with mom after her father went missing and sister died working in the hands of the government. Vi’s a free thinker who’s had more than one brush with the law. So when she’s caught crossing borders to meet her match Zenn, a newly recruited special forces agent, the Greenies want consequences for Vi. They wish to rule a society where their model citizens, Goodies are “walking paper dolls” devoid of personality. All must plug into transmissions including messages about not lying and sticking to the rules. But Vi has stopped plugging in and has a mind of her own. Those in charge have an upper hand with advanced technology capable of modifying memories, scanning fingerprints and tracking identities. Vi can feel the tech in her bones and though her father invented it, she’s not convinced it’s not all that it seems. In the end it’s a choice for Vi between “control or don’t control, alone or together, Zenn or Jag, duty or death.” (p.366)
Jag…oh Jag. Bad boy who likes to read, leader of the Resistance, lover of wicked hair and distributor of hair gel & illegal tech. He stole my heart with his laughter, calmness, and laid back personality. He’ll snag yours the first time he utters the words “nice” and shrugs his shoulders. But readers beware that Jag is not alone in his efforts to win Vi and freedom, Zenn is fighting behind enemy lines.
Elana Johnson is genius. She’s crafted characters that push and pull you in all directions. There is not a clear cut line between what is bad and what is good. The last 1/3 of the book feels like a choose your own adventure quest for the truth, full of action and suspense. Possession is an ingenious mix of dystopian, paranormal and science fiction that had me thinking long after I finished the book. If you’re a fan of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, prepare yourself for something even more mind blowing. Control or be controlled? Join the Resistance.