The Selective Collective Features Level 2: Review

The Selective Collective reads LEVEL 2 by LENORE APPELHANS

This the first of our January posts for The Selective Collective, we read LEVEL 2 by LENORE APPELHANS, sent to use by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I will be doing the review for LEVEL 2!

The Selective Collective Features Level 2: ReviewTitle: Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1) by Lenore Appelhans
Publishing Info: January 15, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 1, 2013

    In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian-a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life-comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.
Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

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Okay, let’s start by saying that this is a VERY difficult review to write without spoilers… BUT I promise that there aren’t any specific spoilers about plot or characters – Just clarification of the main idea of the book.

LEVEL 2 was definitely a unique story, combining a few different genres to come together to create one novel. We get a taste of dystopian, paranormal, and contemporary all wrapped in one. Based on the cover, I was personally expecting it to be predominately dystopian, but I was surprised to continue reading and find out there’s a lot more to the story than just the outward appearances of “Level 2”, where Felicia is currently passing the time after her death.

LEVEL 2 has a mix of fast-paced action sequences and touching flashbacks, thanks to the system that’s set up in the afterlife. Each “person” (spirit? I’m not quite sure what to call them because their very presence in Level 2 means they’ve already died) is able to catalog, store, share, and view their own personal memories and actually feel like they’re reliving them as well as having the ability to relive the memories of others for a fee. At times, I felt like the memories were a bit disjointed from the story when they cut through the exciting pacing, but a lot of them were our only insight to Felicia’s backstory as well as the stories of Neil, Julian, and Autumn and we get to see what Felicia’s life was like before Level 2.

I will throw a warning out there to all those who shy away from religious undertones and references because in this book, there are definitely a lot of them – We see Felicia and Neil not only at church, but youth group-like events which are a main part of their relationship. It’s up to the reader to gauge how that might affect their feelings about the book because it is a constant theme and in fact, some of it gets wound into the plot even deeper than just the relationship of Felicia and Neil.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about LEVEL 2. I finished the whole book in one day and was really curious to see what happened next, but at the same time, I was also confused on some of the plot twists in the end and just feel like they could have been written just a tiny bit better to clarify to the readers a little bit more and really secure their place in the story. I also had a very, very small issue with all of the different countries that Felicia travels to (via her memories) because of her parents’ jobs, traversing North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. My issue was that I didn’t quite feel like all of those scenery changes were necessary to the story. There wasn’t anything quite so specific that Felicia needed to be in these exact places for these events to occur so I was left wanting…. I’m not sure. A little more culture description? More attachment to the place? A reason to be there other than that’s where she ended up? Just my personal opinion.

LEVEL 2 definitely creates a unique story and has a lot of original ideas (or at least ones that I haven’t read about recently)! It’s quite an interesting adventure following Felicia through her adventure in Level 2, and I’m definitely curious to see how book two goes. I wouldn’t say we end with a cliffhanger, but it is a bit surprising and leaves me wondering about how the next book will start.

character_breakdown1Felicia: I was kind of back and forth with Felicia. Sometimes she and I were getting along great and than other times I was like, “Girl, you must be crazy!” She’s had quite a few polar opposites in her life so I felt like she was swinging back and forth a little too much for me to really make a solid character out of her. I want to say more about her but don’t really know what to say…. I almost felt like “old Felicia” was more of a real person than “new Felicia” and she was almost running away from her old self rather than growing into a bigger person.
Julian: I was all about Julian as Felicia knew him on Earth. Julian in Level 2? A bit confusing. Then towards the end I got even more confused, but to be honest, I was rooting for him!
Neil: I didn’t like Neil as the romantic interest for Felicia. He was too “good”. I don’t know… I think I just like reading about characters whose flaws are accepted and make them into better people. Neil didn’t have any flaws. He was a good, Christian boy and for me, it almost made him seem unrealistic. I’m not coming up with the right words for this, but I just didn’t like Neil very much.

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So that’s it! That’s my review for LEVEL 2. Have you read the book? What were your favorite parts? Anything that stood out? Haven’t read the book and excited to pick it up? 

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of WENTWORTH HALL so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Roundtable: Book Club Discussion
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Casting Call: Level 2
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Exploring the Edgy Girl Meets Good Guy Romance
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Author Q&A and Giveaway

9 thoughts on “The Selective Collective Features Level 2: Review

  1. Tee @ YA Crush

    I’m totally hearing you here. I really, really enjoyed this book, but the end got confusing for me, too. I LOVED Julian (what is it about those “bad” boys?). I got frustrated with Felicia so often because of this intense infatuation she had with Neil on Level 2, always reliving moments with him and yearning to be with him, but then we’d go into a flashback and I’d sort of fall for him a bit and see why she loved him so much. I kept expecting him to turn out to be bad because he was so good (is that crazy?). I’m totally psyched to read the next book. I just loved that this one was so different. Awesome review, as always.

  2. Candice

    I was not a fan of Neil either. I mean, I didn’t mind his church going and being involved in all that… I was super involved in church and youth group as a teen. But I got this underlying feeling that he was slumming it with Felecia… like he thought he was better? I don’t know. Just got a funny vibe from him. I was totally more into Julian… like Tee said “what is it about those bad boys?” 🙂 Great review!

    1. Brittany Post author

      Ohhhh that’s a really good point! Maybe that’s why I felt such a disconnect between the two!

  3. Stormy

    On the whole, I really enjoyed Level 2, but there were some things you point out that I definitely felt to be true too. Maybe I should have expected it, but I wasn’t expecting religion to play such a large role in Level 2. It wasn’t that I minded it, exactly, as a religious person myself, but it just gave me a bit of a shock. It was fun to play the I-spot-something-I-did-in-youth-group-too game, though, I must admit. I hadn’t thought of it before, but you’re right that the different locations don’t really play into the story as much as they could. Except for maybe Felicia’s memory with her dad, all that action could have taken place in the U.S. and I never would have noticed a difference in scenery. I actually liked Neil as Felicia’s love interests, but I seem to be in the minority in that one. I don’t know if they’re relationship is *healthy* exactly, since I got the impression that Felicia was trying to get all her self-hate and through Neil, turn that into self-confidence, but that’s an entire posts in and of itself. I knew guys like Neil growing up though, so I find him at least someone realistic. I do wish his flaws would have been explored a bit more though.

    1. Brittany Post author

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I feel like a lot of people feel really differently about this books. Loved hearing how you felt! Lots of things I hadn’t thought of either 🙂

  4. Diana

    I guess I’m in the minority, and maybe it’s my age, but I like Neil. I appreciated the fact that it’s okay for a guy to be good and serious about his faith. There really are guys like that out there. In fact I married one. So, maybe that’s why I like Neil. He could accept Felicia as she was and not try to change her.

    Anyway, in real life bad boys rarely change and good boys are the ones you can have a good, solid life with. I found Julian confusing, I didn’t think he was the classic, fun to love “bad” boy. Having said all that, I did wonder if there was more to Neil than we’ve been let in on. I wouldn’t be surprised by a twist about him in the future books. As he was in the book so far, I would love for my daughter to date someone like him, but don’t tell her because then she’ll bring home the exact opposite! 🙂

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