Sunday, November 4, 2012

Review: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Touching the Surface
Kimberly Sabatini
October 30, 2012
Simon Pulse
Hardcover, 352 pages
Synopsis: When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

     Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

     As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

Kimberly Sabatini reading an excerpt from Touching the Surface at it's release party held at
Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY  November 4, 2012

Review: This book was beautiful. Not just the writing, although the publisher's description of "lyrical" is accurate, but also the story - and evolution of the characters. It was apparent from the start that Ms. Sabatini could write, but I worried that my initial dislike of the main character Elliot would ruin my enjoyment of the rest of the book. I was relieved to find that as Elliot grew and learned and changed, so did my perception of her. Which I believe is wonderfully fitting, given that the entire book is really all about that - redemption, evolution and eventual forgiveness and acceptance. It's odd that a book set in such an abstract place could feel so real, yet it does, and that's in part due to the fact that the characters feel like people you could know. They are flawed, some majorly so, but that's the whole point - if they were perfect, they wouldn't be there. At times, I did feel a bit disoriented by the twisty fantastical world created by Ms. Sabatini (or rather, by her characters ;)) - but I think that only added to my connection to the characters themselves as I felt some of their confusion.

"Being brave isn't about not being scared. Being brave is what you do despite being scared." - Trevor
(That one's going into my all time favorite book quotes, by the way.)

My favorite character by far was the brooding Trevor, who plays the tortured hero role extremely well. The constantly changing quips on his t-shirt were such a clever way to get a glimpse inside his mind and were some of my favorite lines in the book. There's a bit of a love triangle (or a love trapezoid perhaps) involving Trevor, Elliot, and the nearly perfect good boy Oliver, but it wasn't overly angst-y as so many YA novels can get. Even the romance aspect of the book evolved as the characters discovered more and more about themselves and who they were and I found myself wishing I could see that next chapter in their lives after the book ends.

Touching the Surface is a beautiful story of love and redemption. It's spiritual without being preachy, and I kind of hope Kimberly Sabatini's vision of the afterlife is out there to give a second (or third) chance to all of us who might need one.


Touching the Surface: 5/ 5 Stars.
Cover: 5/5 Stars
Audience rating: PG-13 (mild violence, difficult themes - death)

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, what a beautiful cover. The story's premise is very intriguing. Great review. I'd love to read it!