Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
Publication: October 30, 2012 (Simon Pulse)
Source: Finished copy from the publisher
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.
The wind roared and the rain battered me. The storm bellowed, but for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, i felt a pocket of peace inside my soul. It was mine and no ones else could take it away. I was the eye of the storm.
Touching the Surface was one of my most anticipated books of 2012, and within the first few pages, I was psyched for this story. I love afterlife novels like Dean Winchester loves pie. With a lush, ephemeral setting that was described so vividly, and characters that felt real to me immediately, it was impossible not to fall for Touching the Surface. By the end, I was genuinely moved by this wonderful novel about letting go of the past, in order to hold on to something new.
I loved the setting; the Obmil is a fantastic, ethereal place. I was confused at first, because Sabatini's afterlife is complex, and it took me a few chapters to really "get" everything - the levels, the rules. Once that happened, I could appreciate the world-building, which was actually very well done. I loved that Kimberly used the "Delves," or flashbacks as a plot device to get me invested in who these characters were...characters I very quickly grew to love.
I always enjoy character growth, and that was present in Touching the Surface. Elliot changed so much from who she was when she arrived in the Obmil; I loved seeing her shed her selfishness and grow into a person who cared about others, and understood the impact of her actions in their lives. This is a very character-driven strory, and I found myself connecting deeply to Elliot, Julia, Trevor, Owen, and even Mel. Everyone added a bit to the overall message of Touching the Surface, and I liked how unexpectedly various characters ended up tangled in Elliot's life.
Along with the mysteries of the afterlife, and several things that weren't what I thought them to be, I also fell hard for Trevor. At first, I was prepared to hate him for his reactions to Elliot, but there was a reason, and I am so, so glad I stuck with Kimberly's story, and got to know both Trevor, and Oliver. These two boys play a huge part in Elliot's life, in different ways; there's no love triangle here, but there - is - a meaningful love story that blooms sweetly, slowly encompassing Elliot and Trevor.
Touching the Surface is a story that lingered with me. I found myself shedding a few tears as the climax swelled toward an ending that was more of a beginning. Even now, days later, I'm still thinking of this beautiful story, and I urge everyone to read it!
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