Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Release Date – January 15, 2013
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  288 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Level 2 is a story that is filled with many science fiction like elements, and yet is also filled with such vivid emotions that make it read more like a contemporary novel. It's characters are it's heart, and driving force of the story.

I found myself engrossed in these more realistic elements. Felicia's struggle with her relationship with Julian and all the emotions it brings. The enchanting and sweet start to her relationship with Neil. The growing distance between her and her best friend. Her guilt and desire to punish herself for past mistakes. Surrounding all this is the compelling mystery of Felicia's death and the even more mysterious events leading up to it. It's these elements that kept me turning the pages, and engrossed in the story. The writing brings these characters to life effortlessly and the little details that make them feel real are evidently present.

Felicia's story takes place in Level 2. The stark white "in between" that bridges life and whatever comes after it. Days are spent watching memories and everything is surrounded in a fuzzy haze. An intriguing concept, that is mostly well plotted. However, this other aspect, the more science fiction/paranormal part of the novel, didn't resonate as much with me. I found myself wishing I knew more and that it was more developed. Eventually, I found myself wishing that I had more of the characters, and that part of the plot.

I found myself less invested in the rebellion aspect and the overall outcome of Level 2 itself. I cared for the characters, but had a harder time embracing the world they inhabited.

Neil and Julian are the two men in Felicia's life, and afterlife. Each is part of who Felicia is. Julian with his easy charm, and chemical attraction. Neil with his patience, and understanding. Each guy gives Felicia something different. The relationships are built realistically and grow organically within the story. The love triangle is less of a triangle than you might expect, but there is still enough chemistry between Felicia and each guy to make it interesting.

The ending is one that could stand on it's own and yet there are still questions to be explored. Questions that provide more than enough to warrant a sequel. An okay read whose characters resonated, but overall left me wanting more from it.


  1. Good review. I kind of had the opposite reaction: I enjoyed the characters and the world-building, but the end just did not do it for me, at all. I'm still curious about the next book though.

  2. I've heard a lot of really mixed things about this one, but I have two copies so I'll have to read it sooner or later :P Also, I've been ridiculously excited about it FOREVER! Thanks for the honest review :)

  3. Interesting. I just got this book and am really looking forward to reading it, but I've been hearing mixed things.

  4. This book sounds intriguing, I've seen it around quite a bit but this is actually the first I've heard about it. I'm interested in the storyline and the idea that Appelhans takes in this book, but I'm disappointed to hear that it's not well developed, hopefully the second book does better. Thanks for an honest review!


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