April 28, 2014

Review: Elevated by Elana Johnson

April 28, 2014
Title: Elevated
Author: Elana Johnson
Publication Date: February 14, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.


Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.


Review
Spoiler-free

When I heard that Elevated was told in versus, I thought: okay, it's like a poem then. That made me a little nervous, to be honest. I kept wondering how on earth can an entire book be told in that kind of format? I thought there was no way. I know poems do tell a story just as a book or a song does, but I was still a bit skeptical about a 300-page poem. Elana Johnson proved that it can in fact be done, and done well. This writing style kind of reminded me a little of the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. Those books were a bit poetic in a way too. And as far as story-telling and the secrets being revealed are concerned, I think that writing it this way was such a brilliant way to go. It's different and unexpected, and it was so much better that way. It packed a lot of emotion. It was beautiful yet a bit tragic, just like poems are.

As former best friends/lovers Elly and Travis get stuck in the elevator in their apartment building, they are faced to come clean and clear the air and maybe, at the very least, get on good terms again. They stopped being friends for a few months after tragedy struck someone very dear to them that tore them apart. We alternate between the present and their past. This story packs a lot of friendship and family values, depth, secrets and emotions. We find out how their friendships and hardships were like when they were the best of friends all the way to their downfall of what their relationship is like now, and how they fix their broken friendship once the elevator starts working again. 

Although we're in Elly's head, I just want to talk about Travis for a bit. I couldn't help but swoon over him a little. And envy their friendship/relationship/love. Travis was/is a kindred spirit with a not-so-nurtured home life and his only reprieve was his best friend Elly. I just wanted to hug him. I'm surprised that he didn't turn out to be a closed-off, arrogant, rebellious teenager. He was still the humble, patient, lovable guy even if a little broken. Even after Elly pushed him away and shut him out for the past few months, he's all-forgiving and still want to be there for Elly even after their friendship/relationship fell apart. I liked him and Elly together, as friends and something more, and wished better for them.

Elevated was a quick read; I flew right through. It didn't even feel like 300 pages. And when it ended, I wanted more. I also wanted it to end different. What can I say, I'm a sucker for HEA's and will be bummed when I don't get one. As I finished, my mind goes back to a secondary character Jesse that we got to meet in flashbacks. We get text messages about his current life in Florida, but I still want to know more. Call me greedy, I won't deny it here. I think that was my only hang up with this book. The way it ended, and my need for more. It was then that I realized that poems don't always end the way you want them. It's kind of a bummer, yes, but that's what made this story so true to the writing and story line.



About the Author


I am the author of the POSSESSION series, which includes novels POSSESSION, SURRENDER, and ABANDON, as well as short stories REGRET (ebook only) and RESIST (free here on Goodreads). My next novel, ELEVATED, a YA contemporary romance in verse is out now. 


In between all the smiling, I blog for the League of Extraordinary Writers and help to organize WriteOnCon. 

I also teach, watch reality TV, and drive too fast.

Visit elanajohnson.blogspot.com to keep up with book happenings. Email me at elanajohnson@gmail.com -- I love hearing from readers.


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