Review: Level 2
Title: Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1)
Author: Lenore Applehans
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: January 2013
Source: DAC ARC Tours Blog/Tara at Hobbitsies
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In a sentence or so: Felicia is dead and trapped in some sort of afterlife where she’s stuck reliving her memories and wondering if there isn't something more to death than this.
Felicia wasn't perfect. She made bad decisions and was a bad friend and lied to her parents. Her checkered past led her to moving in with her Granny and meeting the most perfect good boy ever, Neil. Neil was too good for her, and she knew it. But he made her happy and she wanted to make him happy and wasn't that good enough?
We learn all about Felicia from her reliving her memories in the afterlife. She lives in a hive with other girls who have no hair, wear white shifts, and shuffle around re-watching their memories or the memories of others all day. Every once in awhile, Felicia feels a stirring for something more. She’s tried to bust out, but without any success. So she continues on and on and on until one day a boy from her past who once had her heart bursts through the door. But it’s not Neil. It’s Julian. The boy who is kinda at the root of all of her bad decisions and things about her past that she never ever wants to relive. Yep, that Julian.
I thought one of the most remarkable things about this book was the experiences after they escape from the hive, so I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own as well! Just know that the adventure is a blend of sci-fi and Big Life Questions and angels and technology and oh my gosh I loved it all so much.
I was floored by how Lenore Applehans (from blogging fame,y’all!) was able to weave past and present and future all into one narrative without it ever feeling clunky or awkward. We discover who Felicia is through her memories and her reflections on those, which kinda has a diary aspect to it but so much more vivid.
My favorite element of this whole story - despite being the huge sci-fi geek I am and adoring the futuristic awesomeness Lenore created - was the YA stereotype of good girl/bad boy turned on it’s head. Felicia is the bad girl! Neil is the good guy! It was amazing! I have to admit that as a church peep myself, I was all about the youth group memories as well. So fun.
I don’t care if you like contemporary or scifi or fantasy or whatever - this book is for YOU because it combines all of the things in a way that no matter what your flavor, you’ll devour it in no time. The creativity is astounding and your commitment to the characters as a reader is instant.
Fave quote: "...as if with its telling, each black spot unsticks itself from my soul and flutters away." (256, ARC)
Pairs well with: Not leaving the house, if you can help it. Once you start, you won’t want to stop!
Fix er up: Two things. She kept referring to her checkered past but it took a LONG time for us to get there, which was frustrating. Second, the book wraps up so nicely, I kinda don’t see the need for a second in the series? I’m not against reading more of Lenore’s writing, nor am I hating the lack of cliffhanger...just curious where we go from here.