Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 281 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Series: The Memory Chronicles #1
Description from Goodreads:
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.
Look at that cover. Looks badass, eh? And the description. Sounds awesome and interesting, right? Sadly, this was one of those books that LOOKED in all ways, shapes, and forms like something I was going to love, but I just...didn't.
I'm not exactly sure what happened with this book. I adored the premise and was excited to meet and get to know the characters--especially the two boys. Then I started the book, and it started off strong and interesting. But then the story went on, and I had a really hard time figuring out WHAT was going on. I didn't see the point of anything. I STILL don't understand what the point was. Like, the reason behind anything the characters do at any point in time. EXCEPT for Felicia wanting to find Neil. That was all that made sense to me.
Felicia: The cover tries to convince us that Felicia is going to be one of those kickass heroines we all love. That is a lie. I found Felicia really boring. And whiny. and I can't see why Neil OR Julian care about her at all. Especially Julian, since she's such a witch to him a majority of the time. Felicia just was not the character for me.
Julian: I thought I was on his team for a majority of the book, and maybe I still am? I have no clue. I'm still completely confused as to what his character IS. At first he seemed cool and kind, but then as we saw more of Felicia's memories with him...well, he turned into something like a jerk. But he still had sweet moments. And THAT is where my dilemma lies. Either way, his character confuses me. Sounds attractive, though.
Neil: Neil is the perfect boy. And I don't mean in a Aiden MacRae kind of way. I mean in a preppy kind of way that would be obnoxious if it weren't Neil. But Neil is sweet and caring, and I hear he has one hell of a singing voice. So I think I might be on his team after the ending of this book. He's clearly the sweetheart of this love triangle. I also think his shyness was adorable. And he also sounds attractive.
Plot. I have no idea what the plot was. Like, if you were to draw a plot diagram and told me to fill everything out, I'd only be able to fill out half of it. MAYBE. The idea for this story was so promising. So, so promising. I think stopping every page or two to relive Felicia's memories from when she alive slowed things down A LOT. It also scrambled up the story so that I could never quite catch on to what they were doing, who they were running from, what they were fighting for. The beginning of this story was stong, but after she leaves the hive with Julian, things get hard to understand.
Couples! There are two here. Julian & Felicia and Neil & Felicia. I like Neil & Felicia better because there is no Autumn in this equation. Um, yeah. There's another girl in the Julian + Felicia thing. I don't like that AT ALL. I get jealous. Plus, it makes it hard for me to believe Julian's feelings and whatnot. But Neil...he's just so adorable and cute! He's straightforward. He's pretty much the exact opposite of Julian. Huh. I think this paragraph means that I'm Team Neil. Ha.
The ending. There's supposed to be a sequel called Level 3. With the way this one ended...I guess it was open-ended. It would have been fine as a stand-alone, too. But anyway, I feel like this ending was somewhat rushed. And, again, I'm somewhat foggy on what happened. I mean, I THINK I got it, but I'm not exactly sure.
Overall, I just don't think this book was for me. Lenore clearly has writing skills, but those were lost on me since I was too busy trying to figure out why everything was happening a majority of the time. I truly think other people will be able to enjoy this book. So, give it a shot if you want. If it looks like something you'd like, I don't see why not. Personally, I plan on reading the sequel. Because I still want to give this series a shot. I think I might give THIS one another try again sometime, after reading some other things first. Maybe I'll like it better next time around.