Reviewed by Christen Krumm

I had high hopes for Elana Johnson’s Possession. With other dystopian books such as Hunger Games and Matched flying off store shelves, I was excited about the possibility of another great dystopian series. However, Possession falls way short.

Possession follows fifteen (almost sixteen) year old Violet (Vi), a Goodie from the Goodlands. Vi is “matched” with Zenn and is “madly” in love with him. After committing a series of small misdemeanors, such as walking in the park with a boy (Zenn), Vi is thrown into prison. Here is my first confusion as I was never quite sure why Zenn never got thrown into prison as well since he committed most of the small forbidden acts with Vi.

While in prison, Vi meets Jag, who is a bad boy or Baddie from the Badlands. After three pages, it seems, Vi is already in love with Jag. Together they break out of prison and head to the Badlands. Why? I am not exactly sure as the Thinkers, who are the law enforcers, can get them just as easily as in the Goodlands. Before reaching the Badlands, Vi and Jag have an argument and split up. Vi, alone, does reach the Badlands where she quickly bumps into Jag who is overjoyed to see her (obviously their argument is quickly forgotten). Jag is quickly found and apprehended at a friend’s house while Vi is outside waiting for him to return. When she realizes that Jag is captured, she quickly rescues him and they run off into the woods to hide in Jag’s tree house.

Vi soon realizes that she can “hear” Jag’s thoughts while they are sleeping. Since Jag decides not to tell her what he is thinking about, and she does not want to let him in on her little secret of “reading his dreams”, she takes off in the woods. She almost bumps into the three Thinkers from the prison and the ones who first captured Jag, however, she hides behind a tree just in time to over hear their conversation about how she was “let” to break out of prison. She is almost caught again when Jag begins to look for her by yelling her name (for a kid on the run with Thinker’s after him, he is not very subtle). The Thinkers, hearing Jag yelling, decide to let them go to catch another day and they “disappear over the ridge.” Vi quickly runs to Jag and they return to the tree house, only to be captured a short time later by none other than Zenn – Vi’s supposed true love.

Vi is torn by her feelings for Zenn and Jag, until she realizes that Zenn apparently has been brainwashed and has betrayed her.

I feel like there were too many inconsistencies throughout Possession. The characters seemed flat, and I was not fond of any particular one. Vi kept bouncing between Zenn and Jag trying to decide who she loved more when it really did not matter to me either way. The light profanity sprinkled throughout just seemed misplaced. I did not really understand the difference between the Badlands and Goodlands as the Thinkers could be in either land – the only big difference seemed the occupants of the city and what technology they were or were not allowed to use.

Johnson’s dystopian world appeared to be a small mix of Hunger Games and Matched with a little Star Wars thrown in for flavor. And with names such as Goodies and Badies, the whole things just left a sour taste in my mouth. You will not be missing much if you decide to skip this one all together.

Rating: 1/5

Christen graduated from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith with a BA in English. She’s a coffee drinking stay at home mom by day and a freelance writer/editor by night. She currently resides in Arkansas with her husband and daughter and welcomed a son in August.

The review copy of this book was provided free of any obligation by Simon Pulse. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.