Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain why knowing Lenore doesn’t at all influence my feelings about this book. I have several friends who are authors, and it is incredibly daunting to read their books. What if I don’t like them?? I am terrified of reading a friend’s book and having to give them a negative rating or review. I would rather not read the book than to have that happen. So while I was anticipating this novel, I was also dreading the read. I decided that I would start to read it, and if it wasn’t working for me, I would quietly put it aside and just not say anything, rather than to power through simply because I know Lenore and then have to give it negative words.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to put the book aside. I was so hooked by the story that I read Level 2 in a single afternoon. There were, of course, flaws – all books have them – and I won’t pretend that the book was 100% perfect. But other than those few things (a couple rough transitions, and I personally would have liked a bit more character development), Level 2 was really well-plotted, -paced, and -written.
I think my favorite thing about the book were the ties to Our Town. There are themes in Our Town that have resonated with me for years, particularly the themes of people being unable to fully experience life every moment of every day, that Lenore was able to bring out in her afterlife world, which is built on a continuous experience of memories (one’s own and other people’s). I’ve seen other reviews where people have complained about Felicia’s memories being interjected into the plot, but I didn’t see this as a flaw at all. I saw this as building along that same theme of memories and re-experiencing life. Felicia’s life could have been expanded and made known to the reader through other methods, sure, but by doing it through these memory interjections, we experience short, sharp moments, rather than a cohesive whole. We experience memory the way the Level 2 network is forced to be, rather than how it was designed. I liked that.
Lastly, I get really annoyed at YA series that have books cut off in the middle of a scene or on a cliffhanger. Level 2 is not like that, thank goodness! Sure, there are still questions to be answered, but there is a definite end and some closure here. Always a plus in my opinion.