Possession by Elana Johnson

Possession by Elana Johnson from The Figment Reviewby Samantha Bagood

In the world of Possession, thanks to the Thinkers, the line between Good and Bad has always been clear. But Violet unplugged from the Thinkers’ brainwashing transmissions years ago. A rebellious and snarky heroine, Violet is caught in a rebellion movement she’s not sure she wants to partake in. But what choice does she have? The Thinkers brainwashed Zenn, her love and approved future match. The mysterious deaths of her father and sister seem to be tied with the Thinkers’ plans. Plus, there’s Jag—the charismatic second love interest giving bad a whole new meaning.

I wanted to like Possession: the cover is beautiful, the concept is interesting, and I love that the theme centers on choice and free will. But I couldn’t get into the story. Whether I was in the silence and privacy of my own apartment or in the rushing noise of public transportation, I had to sort out all the confusion out loud.

Where am I? I asked. Why is ‘Green’ a fancy name for Thinkers? Why did they lock up two criminals—a male and female—in one cell, when the prison seemed empty? Wait, why is Violet so rebellious anyway? If Zenn “makes her want to break the rules” more than anyone else…then why did he want to be a Thinker in the first place?

I also couldn’t picture Possession‘s society as well as I wanted. Some of the rules seem extravagant, unnecessary. The technology is cool, but the setting left me as lost as Violet felt. The ending dumbfounded me. The love triangle irked me at times because I didn’t believe how fast Violet fell for Jag.

I do like the characters, however. I love Violet’s voice in the novel. She’s a snarky girl who isn’t afraid to escape prison on her own or take out a large group of Mechs, robots that either guard or track or capture “Baddies.” She shows strength and loyalty amidst betrayal. Jag, too, is interesting. Although I don’t think his crying comes about in a realistic way, his bouts of sadness intrigued me. Zenn, pulled by the strings of his heart and mind, is a character I wanted to know more about, and I think he needs more stage time. The writing is also great at some places. For example, I love this image: “I felt trapped in a bubble, with the charcoal sky pressing down around me.”

Overall, I felt that the voice and concept saved the story. With tighter world-building, Possession could have been a treat for me, but for now it’s a confusing and twisting tale worth three stars.



Samantha Bagood is a freelance writer and designer and a student at Appalachian State University.  She is currently writing her first novel.

2 thoughts on “Possession by Elana Johnson

  1. Great review!

    I was kinda annoyed at Jag and Vi’s relationship, too. After two days they were, like, in love already? I didn’t see the connection anyways. I wouldn’t have guessed they would’ve liked eath other if the fact that they were madly in love had not been mentioned every few chapters.
    I LOVED the ending though, so cliffhangery. Some people don’t like cliffhangers, but I love to jump into the second book ready for action.

  2. Aww, that’s too bad. I’ve been following Elana’s blog for a year now and I was really hoping her debut would be explosive. But at the same time I’m really getting tired of the flurry of dystopian YA novels in the “1984” vein… still haven’t found one that was any good.

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