Category Archives: Jennifer Echols can do better

Levitating Las Vegas

Levitating Las Vegas
by Jennifer Echols
Published by Pocket Star
326 pages
Genre: young adult; new adult; romance; adventure
Thanks to edelweiss for the preview
3 / 5

A few years ago, I happened upon a book written by Jennifer Echols. Going Too Far was its name, and I enjoyed it a great deal. Since then I’ve gobbled up Love Story, Forget You, and Such a Rush. She creates real characters, puts them in real situations, and then helps them get out with some dignity. In fact, I think that’s what I like most about how she writes: her characters may be teens and college kids, but she treats them with respect and dignity.

I love her books.

But I did not love this one.

Holly and Elijah have known each other since they were kids. At one point, they tried to date, but their parents intervened, claiming that each had an illness that could cause harm to the other. They take the same medication to “cure” them, and so far it appears to have worked. The two believe their parents. After all, it can’t be normal to be able to levitate things, as Holly can do, or read minds, like Elijah.

When they are twenty-one, their paths cross again. They try to avoid each other, but they can’t. Elijah has a greater urgency for connecting with her because his medication – their medication – has run out. If there isn’t any more for him, there won’t be any more for Holly. What horrible calamities will they cause? What havoc will be wreaked upon them?

Oh, and all the while, they are being chased by some bad guys.

The story is far-fetched, but that isn’t the problem with it. As I read this book, I kept asking myself why I didn’t like it. Holly is interesting. Elijah is sweet and adorable. They can do nifty things (I’d sure love to be able to lift a broom just by thinking about it) and they seem like good kids. So what’s the problem? The bad guys? The chase sequence that comes later in the book?

I decided that there is just too much going on here, and at times it feels as if Jennifer Echols herself couldn’t decide what book she wanted to write. A young adult romance? Believe me, this one is a bit more adult than not, largely because her characters are older. Is it a spy caper? An examination of the dangerous patina of Las Vegas? The disconnect that kids feel with their parents? The struggle we face for independence when we’re in our early twenties?

I’m not sure. And worse, I don’t think Jennifer Echols is, either. All of those things go on in this book, and none of them very effectively. Just when it starts to get its footing and find its identify, off it heads in a different direction. Perhaps that’s by design, because it mirrors Holly’s and Elijah’s experiences. And do not even get me started on the “ending.” Clearly there will be another one, to which I want to say to Echols, “Please. No.”

I gave this three stars because when it’s good, it’s good. I really wish I could have given it five. I certainly expected to do so, based on its author alone.

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Filed under Jennifer Echols can do better, mystery, New Adult lit, romance, way too much for one book, YA