Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

10861195Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
281 pages
Dystopian, Romance, Love
How I obtained the book
Library Hardcover


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.

When I first found LEVEL 2 in my local library, I was very excited to see it, mostly because of the concept of a leveled afterlife. However I was a bit hesitant to pick it up after reading this:

Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world and what comes after life.

Two loves? One choice?

Um… no.

As you can imagine, such this did not make me all that enthusiastic to read the book. Thankfully, the rest of the blurb sounded awesome enough to convince me to actually pick it up.

LEVEL 2 is very different from what I thought it was going to be. For one, I didn’t expect that much of the book was spent as flashbacks to Felicia’s life and that the romance would mostly be told through flashbacks as well.

I enjoyed seeing Felicia through her memories, though I would however have liked some development to happen in the present. Most of Felicia’s personality is in her memories, leaving her emotionless in the present.

The one part about these memories that grated on my nerves will require some explaining.

Every soul in Level 2 has a video screen where they can watch their memories and, if they wish, other people’s memories. To watch someone else’s memories, the person must rent them. I’m not sure what the currency was but they used it to rent these memories.

Anyway, Felicia is extremely rich because she apparently has the best of the best memories and everyone wants to rent them. I find that kind of special snowflake-ish because I don’t think that someone could have practically every one of his or her memories wonderful.

But, that’s just me. Maybe, you guys have only awesome memories.

Felicia started off as a nice character. She wasn’t outstanding but I truly liked her during these hundred-fifty pages or so. This is where the majority of the character and world building took place actually.

However, everything that had been built up in the first hundred-fifty somehow was lost during the rest of the book. I would say that the book started to seriously head downhill once Julian stepped into the picture, which I’ll talk about in second.

Felicia was never a strong character. I don’t think useless would be the right word to use but that’s really all that comes to mind. For a main character, she felt surprisingly out of the action.

Felicia can be very irritating at times. It’s not really one thing. It’s just a bunch of little things that add up to be extremely annoying and make you want to stop reading the book because of how much you want to kill the main character (even if she’s already dead).

Could she have used something more? Yes, yes she could’ve.

Julian is one of the love interests – sort of. The book is about Felicia trying to find Neil, who was her boyfriend when she was alive, but Julian is definitely in the picture.

Or at least fans want him to be because I’ve already seen Team Julian on people’s reviews. I cannot see anyone ever being Team Julian because he is a terrible person.

He’s definitely not the worst love interest I’ve come across (Patch from HUSH HUSH, Travis from BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, and Daniel from FALLEN to name a few) but he’s definitely not anywhere close to being on my favorites list or even my don’t-care-about list.

If I had to describe this guy in one word, it would be scary. Or asshole – that’ll work too. No really guys, he’s a huge asshole. Just thinking about him makes me angry so I’m going to stop now.

The only characters that actually had a personality were Felicia and Julian so there isn’t much to go over when it comes to minor characters. The minor characters were really just names without any body. I wish that these characters were elaborated upon, but they weren’t.

Plot and Writing
I had absolutely no idea what was going on.

From what I was to understand, I surmised that there is a rebellion, angels are mean, and Felicia finds it really hard to move on. That’s all I could take from the book by the end. To be honest, it could’ve used some clearing up. I’m certain the author knew what was going on but I think she sort of expected us to just know.

I didn’t.

The rebellion felt very forced in my opinion. LEVEL 2 isn’t the sort of book that needs a rebellion. It’s more of a paranormalish contemporary than a dystopian. In fact, I don’t see how LEVEL 2 could be counted as a dystopian because there isn’t a dystopian world.

It’s about the afterlife!

Well, it’s not bad.

I don’t really see how people are calling the writing amazing and beautiful. It’s not. It’s confusing and the pacing is weird. No matter how I love the memories, the interruptions they cause are really annoying because they’ll come up in the middle of a chapter without much warning and disrupt the flow.

Likes and Dislikes
– memories
– plot idea
– afterlife thing

– characters
– plot
– pacing

LEVEL 2 is not a really bad book. It’s an enjoyable, yet confusing, read with a lot of flaws. I don’t know whether I can really recommend it and at this point, I am not sure if I will read the second book.


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