Possession by Elana Johnson
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.
My Take: This is one of those books you read and and think you need to read it again once you know so much more about the characters by the end of the book. I questioned their motives then made different assumptions than I did by the end.
The edges of Good and Bad are blurred in this dystopia. Ultimately, Vi's assessment is that there is no good or bad but freedom of choice is one I agree. What I really liked about the characters is that they seem so average yet as the story progresses, they (and we) discover their gifts. Reality is not as it seems and can be rewritten.
The other thing I liked about this book is an extension of the blurry edges of Good and Bad (and yes, I did capitalize on purpose). The love triangle takes shape early in the book between Vi, Zenn and Jag and they are clearly put into different camps - Jag is bad, Zenn is good, and Vi is heading toward bad. But then this changes. Zenn and Jag may be on the same side or they may have switched sides. Honestly, I had no idea who was good or bad by the end of the book except for one person I have reasonably categorized into "Bad."
If you plan on getting all the answers in this book, you will be disappointed. If you want to start an interesting dystopia trilogy with similarities to Scott Westerfeld's The Uglies, you will enjoy this one.
I know I did. I can't wait for the next book!
Parental warnings: Very few. Sexual tension, mild swearing.