Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Touching the Surface
by Kimberly Sabatini
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: October 30, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
ARC received in exchange for unbiased review
*purchase through buy links supports this blog


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.
Touching the Surface first drew me in by its cover and then the synopsis with words like lyrical, afterlife and character growth had me hooked. Sabatini offered an interesting look at the reincarnated souls, finding forgiveness, personal growth and love.

The tale begins when Elliot bursts from the surface into the Obmil or afterlife. She discovers she has died again and is now a third timer to the Obmil. Here she will need to gain perspective and delve into her past life in search of answers and acceptance. Only when she reaches enlightenment will she moves on to her next life. The tale that unfolds was filled with mystery, painful memories, happy memories and characters that kept me enthralled.

I adored and appreciated the diverse and fleshed out characters Sabatini presented us with. On the surface Elliot can appear selfish but as we delve we see a complex soul in search of happiness, riddled with guilt, and in seeking forgiveness and understanding. I came to adore her, and loved the growth we see in her character as she interaction with the others. Her best friend through her past two lives is Julia and she chooses to delve in a separate group from Elliot. We get a fresh look at how a person’s life can be overshadowed by another. Oliver and Trevor are the two boys in Elliot’s life and I loved them each. Their relationship to her was fascinating. At first Oliver was the carefree boy, whom she seems to love and who makes her feel safe. Trevor is angry and lasses out. I loved his t-shirt as the slogans on it changed with his mood. Through delving their personalities unfold and we learn about their past connection to Elliot. It was completely fascinating and felt so genuine it left me breathless. Mel and David are counselors or guides and Freddie seems to help everyone. Each character impacts the tale and we learn something from them. I found myself emotionally connected with them and was so pleased the author did not include a love triangle but tied them all together. Their emotions felt raw and genuine. 

Not only do we get original and unique characters but then Sabatini builds a world in the afterlife that is absolutely breathtaking and completely original.  Think of a camp set deep in the woods by an enormous peaceful lake, but the setting changes for each person’s moods and needs.(rain, winter, fall, summer, landscape) So as a soul walks the world builds around them from lakes, to windmills to soaring mountain views. The whole concept of the Obmil and what it represents to souls was a fascinating look at reincarnation. This subject has always interested me, and I have often wondered if people who just seem to have all their shit together are really old souls, while numbskulls  are just floundering newbies.  Delving is an interesting aspect where souls fall back and view moments in their previous life. These delves are done as a group and the hope is that the others will help the soul reach enlightenment. When that is achieved the soul can move forward into a new life. I loved how all of the souls tied together from the experiences they shared in their previous lives and in the Obmil. This was a spectacular tale that followed seamlessly and I literally consumed it in two sittings. The scenes go between time in the Obmil and the characters previous lives and I liked how we experienced it along with the characters. We both emerged from each delve with more understanding regarding each character and their journey. The author used this landscape to address issues regarding suicide, the afterlife, child abuse, forgiveness, carelessness, love and friendship. As we gain understanding of their initial responses to each other we watch the characters grow, recognize that their attitudes and actions are really just protective mechanisms and as readers we can see how people in our daily lives uses these crutches. I truly believe people act like asshats because they have issues they need to address. It’s a cry for help and I try to look at their perspective of things to gain insight into what drives them. The author brilliantly reveals this. Am I rambling? Gads, just trust me, this book will make you think, and entertain you all at the same time. It’s a book you will think about long after you have closed it.

Touching the Surface was wonderful, lyrical and thought provoking. I cannot believe it’s not the most talked about book out there. As Sabatini’s debut novel I can tell you she writes like a seasoned author. I would pick up her next book sight unseen.

Five cups of coffee out of five 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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57 Comments:

At July 17, 2013 at 10:03 PM , Anonymous Debbie Haupt said...

OOh it's a 5 cupper oh my aching tbr pile :)

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:06 PM , Anonymous Pnrurbfantasyreviews said...

I've seen this book, but really it's flown under the radar. FIVE cups, and I know it's a must for me!! Love the review!!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:07 PM , Anonymous Barbara Walker said...

If it had YOU wondering if you were rambling, then I have to go buy it, because it has to be good. :) It sounds wonderful, I love the descriptions of the Obmil and I get you about the asshats. lol Great review, chica.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM , Anonymous Pooja said...

Ooh. This sounds deep and lyrical and amazing!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM , Anonymous Melissa (Books and Things) said...

To tell you the truth, I would have passed this one by without your review. I've seen that cover too many time (or at least one time before... or one just like it... ) so I would have thought it was the same thing all over again. Love the sound of the writing and such high praise! Must add this one to the wishlist!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:54 PM , Anonymous Liz @ Fictional Candy said...

Wow. I've not heard of this book, but it really sounds amazing. I love how the scenery changes on the mood. I have a bit of a fascination with afterlife books, and this is definitely going on my TBR. Thanks for reviewing it!!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:54 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Liz I've totally decided my Obmil would be a bookstore/coffee shop overlooking the lake and it would be 74 degrees and sunny everyday. Oh wait that's my version of heaven!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

ooh I hope you grab it Sharon I really enjoyed it!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous Christy (Love of Books) said...

Is there a different book with a similar cover? Because I keep thinking this is about something else. This sounds really good, though.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Yes and I think that is why this is a sleeper five star!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous Heidi said...

Wow! Five stars and original and thought provoking and great writing? How did this book fly under the radar?

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Exactly, from previous comments I think it was the cover..too similar to others which is a dang shame!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous candacerobinson said...

Completely original, huh? I haven't been reading a lot of YA paranormal (or have been trying to avoid it) but your description makes this one sound pretty good!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Yes no love triangle, complex characters and a fresh take on reincarnation.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Yeah this was good and I hope you enjoy it Darlene.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous Andrea @The Bookish Babe said...

Oh wow, I'm not reading a lot if paranormal làtely, but you definitely have me intrigued. I'm very curious about the dynamic between the characters, and love that it wasn't a triangle.
Great review!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Heck yes I am sick of triangles..LOL

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous Lauren said...

Wow, I'm ashamed to say I wasn't planning on reading this, but it sounds like the sort of book I would gush about for months on end. I love lyrical, thought-provoking writing, and her vision of the afterlife sounds beautiful and creative. This is the first review I've seen of this book, and the fact that you loved it so much makes me think this is one of those overlooked gems. Definitely going to read this one now. Thanks for your lovely review!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I read a review I rather liked and commenting and the author graciously sent me a copy, I am so glad she did!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks Lisa:)

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

ya know, peeps pointed that out, and I didn't notice a connection till after.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous Heather@Buried in Books said...

Wow! That's the most I've read about this novel ever. In fact, I've seen this novel, but never seen a review of it. You really liked it, I can tell! I might have to think about reading it if you feel so strongly about it. That was one amazing review. I like the idea of the world of the afterlife being whatever the "person" needs it to be.


Heather

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Exactly Heather and the delving was pretty intense!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous brandileigh2003 said...

Sigh. Fleshed out and diverse characters. i think I am in love :)

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Ha..i love that too and ooh the world building rocked!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous A Belle's Tales said...

What a fantastic review, lovely! You really know how to get me excited about a book that *gasp* I had not heard of until just now! Thanks so much for the introduction!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Yay, always love sharing something new that I loved!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Toni @ My Book Addiction said...

Wow, if you were that impressed I know I have to add it! Thanks for the great review and yet another to addition to my towering stack. :)

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

hehehe..my pleasure cupcake!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Pabkins said...

That good huh? That cover reminds me of the Jenny Pox cover! haha. The premise sounds really interesting and you really loved it ....gahhh the stack just grows and grows!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

*goes to check out Jenny Pox cover* Yes, I agree it does! now seriously Pabs can one really have too many books?!? Seriously!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

ha, yeah and I had to edit my review for Amazon twice cause they didn't like asshats and numbskulls..who knew!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks the world building and delving was cool

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I love it when characters aren't what they appear to be at first, and even more when I start by not liking them, only to end up discovering things to like under the surface. I'm gad you got to experience this with Elliot.
This sounds like a great read, I'll try to find time for it soon.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I do to Maja, thanks!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks Ellen!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous thegeekyblogger said...

This does sound very much like a thinking book! I think these are important ones to have out there :)

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I loved the world and process. thanks Felicia!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Awesome I would love to hear your thoughts on it when ya read it!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

hahaha...its the plight of every book addict!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

cool, hope they have it!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Christa said...

This book always caught my eye because of its gorgeous cover. I love any covers with purple tones. But it sounds like an interesting and emotional read as well. Great review!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks Christa, I love the Obmil.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Jenny Zemanek said...

Wow, this sounds fantastic Kimba, I can't believe I haven't heard of it before! I love books that deal with reincarnation, I just find them fascinating. The world-building of the afterlife sounds truly breathtaking as well, I can't wait to get my hands on this now! Thanks for putting this one my radar:)

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

You are so welcome I loved the world.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kindlemom1 said...

I like books that make me think and I like them even more when the characters have to stop and think even more. Character growth is huge with me. I like to have it in my reads and this one sounds like it is full of it, not just for the name character but for the guys as well.
I had no idea this one was so good. I have it sitting in my TBR pile ever since its release date. I want to read this one now!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks Ali, It was a delight to read.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

The whole concept of the soul and reincarnation has always really fascinated me too. I really like the sound of the Obmil. Great review, Kimba! I don't think I really considered this one before, but I definitely hope I can give it a try one day.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I feel the same way about souls and reincarnation. thanks Sam:)

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Blodeuedd said...

Ohhh lyrical, it has been some time since I read anything like that

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Ya, the words just flowed.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Jennifer Bielman said...

Wow, the afterlife sounds amazing. I love when an author can create a whole new reality and make it seem real. Great review.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

It was a whole different take on it and I enjoyed it!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous Turning the Pages said...

I've been really curious about this one since I've been seeing some mediocre reviews of it but since my library has it I'm so going to give it a try. Hope I like it as much as you did!

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I looked at reviews today, and was surprised, the world building is solid and I have always had a thing for reincarnation.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:57 PM , Anonymous GRgenius said...

I admit, I've seen this one in the blogosphere before but it sounds REALLY good....and your recommendation (5 of 5 cups!) is definitely seconding my addition of it to the old wish list. Thanks for sharing! Great review. ^_^

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:57 PM , Anonymous Ana said...

This sounds really intriguing. I like it when books look into the main character's soul and mind, and the concept of the afterlife presented in this book is really good. I'll have to check this out! :)

 

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