Author: Kimberly Sabatini
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Number of Pages: 352
Source of Book: Bought the hardcover
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.I'm a little torn with TOUCHING THE SURFACE. I read it because Kimberly Sabatini's agent is Michelle Wolfson, and I love other books by her authors: Kiersten White, Daisy Whitney, Kasie West, and so Michelle recommended this debut. I loved parts of this story, but other parts drove me kind of nuts because they seemed to be tropes I'm sick of with love triangles, but it ended up being so much more than that in the end. It's a fantasy afterlife story, told like a contemporary. Basically, I wasn't so sure at the start, but I pushed myself to keep reading, and then once it got to a certain point with a specific event that changed my (and the main character's) view of things, I bought into the story much more and it became very hard for me to put down at the end because I needed to know how things would end up.
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 has created a unique premise of the afterlife with reincarnation and a soul being more than just one body and one life. It deals with themes of grief and guilt and forgiveness and love in ways that connect the reader to the characters and events that are happening. The realizations the characters came to in the end, and the views they had about the afterlife and its purpose, were thoughtful and thought-provoking.
One of the best parts of this book is the way in which it was written and the plot was paced to keep the reader in suspense along with the characters, but wanting to know what's going to happen. This story is told as if in the present in the afterlife, but as it is the third time these characters are there, they don't seem to remember what happened in their most recent life. They have to Delve to access the memories so they can remember and learn and grow. The Delving is in italics and serves sort of like a flashback and adding more information to the story. The way in which the Delves and present events are intertwined to reveal bits of information at a time and connect the characters more was done very well. The writing is also done in such a way as to make the setting always feel very real for the reader.
Throughout TOUCHING THE SURFACE, there is a lot we don't know as the character doesn't know it either. The reader goes along for the journey of discovery which gets very interesting. At the start, I felt it was a little bit confusing trying to keep track of how this world worked and who everyone was, but it got easier to follow. I didn't completely connect with the main character, Elliott, from the start, but she grew on me. I just really didn't like the instalove that seemed to happen early on in the book and the good guy vs bad guy love interest thing going on, but the way that all gets resolved and comes together in the end made it where I didn't want to put the book down lest I miss something important to figuring it all out.
I did like where the story ended up; although, there is a wide open ending for sure, and the journey of discovery of self that was required to get there made it all the more interesting. At its heart, this is kind of a love story...all kinds of love. And kind of a story about expectations and doing what's necessary for your own self to find your way and save your soul, both in life and in the afterlife.