Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: May 6, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books / Simon + Schuster
Target audience: Adult / mature young adult
Keywords: paranormal, Vegas, mind reading, levitation, conspiracy
Format read: ARC via Edelweiss from Publisher. (Thanks!)
Summary: For the past 7 years, Holly and Elijah have believed they had mental disorders and have been forced to take medication and keep secret about their conditions. Because of it, they forfeited dating one another (they had no idea each had the disorder) and have lived sheltered lives under the surveillance of a Las Vegas casino. When Holly and Elijah’s prescriptions run out, Elijah believes he can save them both by kidnapping Holly and finding the factory. In the mean time, the attraction between the two is undeniable and a war is breaking out in their casino.
Hands down, Jennifer Echols is the one of the best when it comes to writing tension between two characters. In young adult books like Such a Rush and Going Too Far, as well as her adult debut Star Crossed, she is at her best.
Unfortunately (fortunately), the chemistry between main characters Holly and Elijah was the only thing that kept me hanging on in Levitating Las Vegas. It’s almost the perfect kind of love story — two characters who have known each other forever and are forced apart by complications they can’t even explain to one another. What’s also interesting is that they remained in each other’s lives from a distance: both worked at the casino (Elijah was a carpenter and Holly was a showgirl assistant in her dad’s magic show) and even graduated college together.
It’s not until the necessary medication for their respective “mental disorders” runs out that they start crossing a lot closer paths. Of course, the whole thing is being orchestrated by casino security/Holly’s closet friend, Kaylee, (but they don’t know this) so it’s not as happening as organically as the two think.
Oh my, the drama! Abusive boyfriends, lying parents, mind changers, etc.
I’m not a paranormal reader. In fact, the only reason I picked this up is for Jennifer Echol’s name alone, and despite my inexperience, the plot felt a bit discombulated and could have used a bit more organization. Even when I thought I was finally catching on, the last few chapters blew up in my face and I got the feeling Levitating Las Vegas was more of an action packed novel/good vs. evil than a romantic paranormal.
More balance, attention to the dialogue (Holly and Elijah alternated between sounding older than 21 and younger than 21 at times), and more understanding of the powers associated by these two (shouldn’t he be able to read her mind ALL the time?) would have made this a smoother, more enjoyable read. As a genre, I would imagine that paranormal is a lot harder to write because you have to make the unbelievable feel believable in every day life — at least somehow and that was truly lacking here. (So were Holly’s clothes… she was always wearing a bathing suit top!)
If you are looking to read some Jennifer Echols (and you should!), I urge you to read Such as Rush or Star Crossed. And I’m certainly looking forward to her next young adult book, Dirty Little Secret, this summer!