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Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288
Ages: Young Adult
Buy It: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble Nook | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository
Publishers Summary:

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 prisoners, Felicia passes the endless hours downloading memories and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and the boy she loved, Neil.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber disappears, and nobody but Felicia seems to recall she existed in the first place. Something is obviously very wrong. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, she learns the truth: a rebellion is brewing to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2.
Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, but then he promises what she wants the most—to be with Neil again—if only she’ll join the rebels. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself in 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.

Felicia Ward exists in a state of memories. Memories of her life now gone. Not knowing how long it’s been since her death or what has happened to the family and friends she loved she continues on reliving her favorite memories of each of them, Neil most of all. When suddenly she’s rescued from her existence on Level 2 by someone she long hoped to forget, Julian, she finds herself in the midst of a struggle greater than herself, but her only hope is rescuing those she truly loves. As she travels the world of Level 2 she discovers that the only way to her future is through the choices and mistakes of her past, but will it be enough? And in the end will it be Neil or Julian that is her salvation and choice?

Lenore Appelhans, the blogger turned author behind Presenting Lenore, had a lot to live up to with her debut novel Level 2 but anyone that ever doubted she would write something less than incredible was so very wrong. Level 2 had me in tears within the first few pages, in love with both Neil and Julian, thrilled with the sci-fi aspects and absolutely has me wanting to read more by Lenore. There’s a reason this is one of the most anticipated YA novels of the year and it’s one I’ll be raving about for a long time to come.

As for the specifics of Level 2, the first book in The Memory Chronicles series, let me first of all say how thrilled I am to have another science fiction YA that features strong characters and beautiful world building. Much of the story is spent with the main character, Felicia, exploring her memories which reside primarily in a typical earth environment. Where the excellent world building comes into play is in the area Felicia lives after her death, Level 2. Each person rests in their own “pod” where they can access a number of memories including those of the other inhabitants of Level 2. Once rescued by Julian they enter a strange cold world filled with robots, adversaries and fellow rebels. I found myself imagining something similar to the Machine City featured in the Matrix series. Toward the end of the book the world begins to incorporate aspects of Greek mythology, even including an entire river of lamentation before a long journey across isolation plains where some of the dead rest. With such vivid world building the news that Level 2 has also been optioned for a film is thrilling and I’m excited to see how it transfers onto the big screen.

Within the pages of Level 2 readers will not only enjoy the brilliant world building, but will also fall in love with each of the characters Lenore Appelhans has created. This is a story that could rely heavily on the world it resides in, but below the surface there is so much more to it than vivid landscapes and scientific creatures. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans is a story about characters who make poor choices and pay the consequences of their actions. From Felicia to Julian to Autumn to Neil and even Felicia’s parents, each of them set out on their individual destinies based on the choices they make. I found myself completely heartbroken and sobbing within the first few pages of Level 2 at the thought of Felicia’s parents and how they cope with the death of their daughter. What brought further heartbreak to their situation were the choices they made surrounding their daughter and specifically her mother’s choice to send Felicia to live with her grandmother. The relationships Felicia has throughout the book bring her character as well as those around her to life and sadly, some to death. Each character brings another layer to Felicia’s overall story and makes her a person you want to hope for in the end.

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans far exceeded my hopes and expectations. This vivid sci-fi YA story is built within a world of robots, angels, Greek mythology and brilliantly realistic characters. Throughout Felicia’s life she travels the globe with her parents and in her death she spans the full landscape of what may await her in the afterlife. As Felicia remembers the people, relationships and choices of her life on earth she becomes stronger by accepting her mistakes and moving forward to save the ones she loves. Level 2 is no doubt the start of a very successful series and career for Lenore Appelhans!

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 14 and up. A powerful debut novel from an incredibly talented new author! Perfect for Sci-Fi and dystopian fans and a must read for YA readers everywhere.

Pre-Order Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans at the following spots:
Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble Nook | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads

Thank you so much to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, for providing a copy of this book for review while at Book Expo America! Connect with them on Twitter and on Facebook!
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One Response to Book Review: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

  1. Jeff Rivera says:

    Such a great review!. It’s very accurate and I agree with every word. I LOVED the memories portion of this book, which was a lot of it. Basically in Level 2 residents have these chairs they can sit in to access memories from when they were alive, they can even trade and sell memories like Pokemon cards! What a deal. I love Felicia’s and Neil’s relationship, and being allowed to revisit how they met, and began to fall in love really added a “contemporary” novel feel to it.

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