Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: Touching the Surface

Goodreads summary:

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.

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

My review:

I was very excited to read this book.  I adored both the cover and the summary, so I was hoping it would be as good as it looked.  Well, about one-third into the story, I liked it well enough.  It was just a bit...weird?  Awkward?  Some of the characters behaved strangely, and the story was slightly confusing at times.

So why did I rate this five stars?  As I continued reading, this story really grew on me and I began to find myself attached to the characters.  More of the characters' past is revealed, and the stakes start rising.  Quickly, I became sucked into the story and it turned into an unforgettable experience.

I usually know right away when I love a book.  For me, it's rare start reading a book, find it mediocre, and then suddenly like it a lot more.  But that's just what happened with Touching the Surface.  The author does an excellent job of creating a unique afterlife and characters that will stick in your mind long after you finish the story.

The characters are great; full of depth and easy to relate to.  Elliot, the main character, is probably my favorite throughout the whole novel.  Some might call her self-absorbed, but I like her because she's real and imperfect.  She has to face her flaws and start caring for others more.  I love the character growth she has in this story.

Then there's Trevor, who I disliked at first because I thought he was a jerk.  But as the story progresses, we learn that he's not like that at all.  He becomes a strong, likeable hero by the time the story is over.  Also, I love how, in the afterlife, his t-shirts always have a funny saying on them that reflects what he's thinking.  That was a clever touch!

The minor characters really add to the story as well.  They are all different and each play important parts.  The plot is so interesting and thought-provoking as Elliot and the others try to figure out a sense of self and what their purpose in life was.  And the prose is lyrical and lovely.  A couple of my favorite quotes are: "What I've started to figure out is that the things I avoid the most seem to have the most importance" and "Life and death unfold and every moment is a mystery to all of us, but the mystery isn't that it happens, it's what we do with it."

With a unique and refreshing take on the afterlife, thought-provoking themes, and complex, interesting characters, Touching the Surface is definitely an amazing read.  The only reason I give it 4.5 stars is because I think the first 100 pages or so are slightly slow and a touch confusing.   Overall, I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more of Kimberly Sabatini's future work!

My rating:  9 out of 10 (4.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

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