Book Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

POSSESSION by Elana Johnson
Publication Date: June 7th 2011 by Simon & Schuster

Summary: Vi knows the Rule: 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.

Review Overview:

  • World-building fell flat because I could not see this happening in the future
  • The romance was insta-love but Johnson further develops their relationship
  • Confusing but it was what kept me reading

My mind is in conflict while I write this review. On one hand, once I started reading POSSESSION, I had a hard time putting it down, but on the other hand, most of the reason why I couldn’t put it down was because of the fact that I had a hard time trying to figure out what was going on. I was confused most of the time I was reading, which to me isn’t a good thing.

The world building in POSSESSION felt like it is missing something. I can definitely picture Violet in her world while I read, but not completely immerse myself. I think the problem is that I really couldn’t imagine her society happening in the future. As a reader, I am not given enough information that was enough to satisfy me as to why society turned out the way it was. I think dystopian fiction has to have some elements of realism for it to really work and click for a reader. That just didn’t happen for me.

The book is very much centered around a romance, which I wasn’t very much a fan of as I hoped. Jag is charming in his arrogant and confident manner, but his relationship with Vi felt very much like insta-love. However, despite the start of their relationship, Johnson does a great job of further developing their relationship as the book progresses. There are quite many up’s and down’s between Jag and Vi to make their relationship more realistic.

My main problem with the book is that I found it very confusing. It’s intriguing, but also really irritating. Sometimes, POSSESSION jumped from one scene to the next and I will have no idea what’s going on. I constantly had to go back a few pages and re-read scenes – which I don’t think should happen. I should be able to figure out what’s going on the first time I read something. There is also a twist towards the middle that did not exactly come out of nowhere, but took me by surprise; it added a nice element to the plot and it would be interesting to re-read the novel and look out for any clues leading up to it.

I’m not sure if this book is part of a series or if it’s a stand-alone. I really loved the ending to this book because it left a bitter-sweet feeling. While the ending is tied up to give me enough satisfaction as a reader, there is more than enough room for a sequel.

Overall, I enjoyed POSSESSION but not as much as I would have liked. I pretty much read more than half of the novel straight through and finished it the next day. It is an addicting read, but there are some elements of the novel that just didn’t click for me.

Other Reviews:
I Eat Words
Reading Fever


  1. I believe you’ve taught me an aspect to discuss when I talk about dystopia! World-building! I feel this way about Divergent I think. I need to write the review soon but am torn, as you are with this story. I am interested in checking it out but I can’t stand insta-love and unrealistic world-building! x)

    1. Oh yay! Glad to have taught someone something. I think that this one is worth a read if the summary appeals to you, but it’s definitely something that can wait a while.

  2. Thanks for the honest review. I’ve read books like that where you read them quick but you can’t decide if you’re in love or not. I am still definitely going to be picking up because I would really like to meet these characters!

    1. LOL SAMITA! Gah, I can’t believe that I forgot about this comment because I was totally planning to reply ASAP.

      … Do you really want to know? If so, we should move this to email. Hehe.

  3. Meh, I pre-ordered this AGES ago, when I was on a dystopian kick, but I’ve been reading so many *unimpressed* reviews lately that I kinda regret buying it. I read Wither the other day and thought the world-building SUCKED, which totally ruined it for me, so I can see Possession being the same.

    1. Oh man! :/ I usually like to hold off on buying books if I’ve never read anything by the author before so it sucks that you’ve preordered this one. Hey, maybe you’ll still end up liking it more than I did?

      1. I’m HOPING so, but I don’t know, LOL, especially with what I’ve been hearing about the ending, which really didn’t sit well with some other reviewers … :(

  4. Your the third review I’ve read today that has complained about the confusing writing, hard to get into insta-love relationship, and unbelievable world building. Those are all big problems for me, so I think I’ll be passing. Thank you!

  5. I’m with you on this and have held off writing a review until I can really wrap my head around it. Plus, the ending just upset me (I like a nice HEA…). Anyway, thank for the great review!

    1. Hah, yeah I’m a fan of a HEA as well, but for some reason, I kind of didn’t mind this ending. It fit for me.

  6. Aw, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like it as much as you wanted to. I hate it when that happens. I definitely agree with you about the scene jumps; they happened a lot, and left me so confused. Anyway, thanks for the review, and for mentioning my post in your review! :)

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