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.
Having never read Elana Johnson before, I was excited to check out her upcoming YA Contemporary, which was why I jumped at the chance to get to read it. The synopsis was very appealing to me because I found the scenario of being stuck with an ex-boyfriend in an elevator to be funny and cute. Apparently, Elevated was a far cry from cute which surprised me in the best way possible!
“I ride this elevator everyday for hours, hoping you’ll get on.”
Elevated is all about Elly, who gets stuck with her ex, Travis, on the elevator. The book is heavy with flashbacks from five months before. Through their very vexatious entrapment in the elevator, Elly reminisces how her relationship with Travis started and the events that lead to the current hostility between them. Johnson’s story is full of secrets waiting to be revealed and I caught myself getting more curious by the minute about what happened to Elly. I finished the book quite fast because I couldn’t stop turning pages!
“I’ve been living a wax paper life. With colours muted by film, with motion blurred by the layer over my eyes, with emotions barricaded behind a flimsy piece of paper that’s too easily shredded.”
Like I said, cute is not the word for Elevated. Emotional, heart-wrenching and hurt-inducing are the terms you’re looking for. Elly has lots (and lots) of angst, which you’ll realize is pretty reasonable for a teenage girl who’s experienced the things she had. I felt her emotions so so clearly that I almost imagined they were my own. It helped that Elana Johnson’s writing was so beautifully unrestrained. While the book was written in verses, there was much more to the story.
“Missing took every fiber of your being.”
The next best thing about the book aside from the writing and surprising twists was that the characters felt so real. Elly’s voice was so genuine that her hurt gutted me. The characters in the book are very much imperfect and flawed but thing is- I still embraced them. If I were to be honest, I didn’t always like them (Specifically Travis, sometimes even Elly. If there’s one person I positively liked, maybe even loved, it was Jesse.) Every time I tried to put myself in their situation though, I found myself nodding and relating more. There was just so much intensity to the characters, especially the protagonist, which made the book a really good one. I think the ending could have been much better, but most of the story was really gripping.
“I’m in love with you,” he whisper-says, “And I don’t know how to stop.” The longing in his voice is so deep I can’t hear the bottom of it.
Elevated is the kind of novel you pick up in the middle of the night, when you’re restless and looking to escape your own thoughts. Elevated pulls you in way too deep and it engulfs you. It’s a story of conflicted feelings, hurt, grief, and love. Written in stunningly lovely verse, it captured my heart in a manner no other book has done before.