Monday, January 28, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

By Kimberly Sabatini
Released: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Hardcover, 352 pages

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. --Goodreads
4 Stars

These days there are so many books about the afterlife that there ought to be a new genre called ‘What’s supposed to happen when we die’ or WSHWWD for short. Seriously, I’m not kidding. And the sad thing about all these paranormal books is that a lot of them are hopelessly cliched. It feels like the same story told over again with different narrators and different characters. I admit that when I first picked up Touching the Surface, I didn't exactly have high hopes. I've read my share of books dealing with the afterlife, and I’m somewhat paranoid of debut authors. A debut author plus afterlife book was not a pretty equation in my mind.

Then I read it. And I would be lying if I said that Touching the Surface wasn't a breath of fresh air in an otherwise clogged and polluted concept. Kimberly Sabatini's story about a soul who finds herself in purgatory for the third time is refreshing, beautiful and above all, thought provoking. Elliot Turner has lived three lives and is now at the point where she must find out more about herself in order to move on. That includes figuring out the mysterious ties between her and two brothers, Oliver and Trevor, as well as mending her broken relationship with her best friend Julia.

The book’s written in a lyrical manner with perfectly weaved words and just the right doses of humor. If you’re the type to really relate to a novel, Touching the Surface will make you laugh, cry, get angry, throw something at a wall, and be completely irrational and susceptible to the emotions that this book conveys. Sabatini uses the story as a vehicle to make readers explore some profound questions about our sense of heaven and hell. She also points out that sometimes, the surface of the truth just isn’t enough. Elliot spent her last two times in the Obmil (otherwise known as limbo) refusing to find out more about herself. Yet to save herself this third time, she must do more than simply ‘touch the surface’. Self-discovery is the most important aspect of this novel, and I doubt you’d walk away from reading it without figuring out just a little bit more about yourself. The book also teaches forgiveness and the lesson that life isn’t always fair, but you have to move on anyway and make those memories part of you.

At times, the book moved at a weird pace, and the introduction was rambling and awkward. As for the rest of the novel...let me make this analogy. It kind of felt like I was leisurely strolling down a road in the countryside when all of a sudden, I end up plummeting fifty feet off a cliff. The novel leaned heavily on intense plot twists to take it forward, and while I wasn’t complaining in the beginning, it sometimes frustrated me towards the end. And the fact there were so many plot twists meant that many things were left unanswered.

I also have a few minor complaints about characters. The only character I really loved was Trevor, aka "Mr. I hate the world." His T-shirt slogans were awesome. Still, things are definitely going to turn for the better! There were times when I wanted to punch Elliot in the face because she truly is a douchebag in the strongest sense of the word. I couldn’t really relate to her. There was just something about her. Julia was completely flat, and Sabatini left us dangling with the unanswered questions of her past, which was so aggravating! And Oliver was just too perfect. Seriously. They don’t make guys like that in real life. (I totally wish though).

In conclusion, I found Touching the Surface to be a novel worth reading. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and the cover is phenomenal. Best of all, it was original. Other books about the afterlife would never take the kind of approach that Touching the Surface did. So I give a big round of applause for Kimberly Sabatini and her debut, and I will sit back and watch anxiously for her other works. And I’ll also leave you with these wise words from the novel:

        “A life experience is designed to help a soul grow, to learn. It’s a role play without you knowing you’re playing a role.”

This review was written by Rena, a guest reviewer. Isn't her review amazing?

Purchase Touching the Surface here: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Kimberly Sabatini has graciously offered a reader a copy of Touching the Surface!
  • Ends February 11
  • International
  • Hardcover or eCopy (Winner's Choice)
  • Not really sure on what else to say...

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I don't mind reading books about the afterlife but I did understand where you are coming from. There are a lot out there. I like that this has to deal with crossing over. It's different...
    Haha! That analogy. Din't expect that which I bet was what you were going for.
    Love the cover and the book sounds amazing. Thanks for the wonderful review and giveaway (:

  2. Ooh, that was funny! LOL, WSHWWD! It really should be it's own genre-- we see enough of it! ;) And I like the idea behind this one-- and the cover. I'll admit it. "Cover whore". Eh, it's not all bad. ;)

    Dude, what do his t-shirts say? o_O Fab review, Rena! (:

    Megan@The Book Babe

  3. I'm also afraid of readin debut authors books, and like you said, combined with book about afterlife could be dissastrous. But, I've read so many positive reviews about this one and I can't wait to get my hands on it! Oh and WSHWWD! Love it!

    Anatea @ Anatea's Bookshelf

  4. This book does sound good. I'm not a fan of afterlife novels. I agree that they usually all come off mostly the same, only the names of the characters really change. But this sounds good and the premise is intriguing. I also LOVE the cover!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

  5. So looking forward to this book! It sounds interesting and the cover is so beautiful! Thank you guys and Kim for the chance to win!

  6. It sounds like story will bring about so many emotions and I really like that. I want to feel what the characters are feeling because it makes me connect with me more.

  7. Great review. I've been in need of a relatable book, the kind that makes you want to throw things but be happy but be sad and awesome all at the same time. Thanks!

  8. Great review! This one has been on my wishlist for a long time now. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I've been eyeing this book for awhile. I guess the reason why I haven't picked it up yet is that I haven't met a lot of recommendations about it and that makes me wary sometimes. It does sound interesting. Great review! I'm definitely looking forward to this now :)

  10. I agree with you, there should be a new kind of genre base on the afterlife but WSHWWD is a bit long for a title, I think. I've read this book and I totally understand how you feel. I also agree with Trevor's awesome statement t-shirt. I would probably buy one if only it existed.

    Great review! :)

  11. Usually I'm not one to lean towards afterlife novels especially after reading one recently which was good but wasn't "great" however I think you've sold me on Touching the Surface. Your review is honest and despite all the flaws you've mentioned, you still gave it a 4 stars! I trust your opinion and will look into adding this to the TBR :) Great Review :)

  12. I haven't read a lot of after life books but I DO love plot twists and this one sounds intriguing so I'll be giving it a try.

    Trevor sounds like an awesome guy but I hating when the characters are not "real" so I might have a problem with Julia too!Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

  13. I admire how books create impact on its readers and this story nonetheless gives you expectations that can either beat what you had set or flunk into your standards. I liked Rena's review, she set both side of how likely and unlikely the story will be. She emphasizes the greatness of the novel and dissected its flaws. But nevertheless I am looking forward to read the novel myself. Because most books have different approach to different people.

    Thanks for the giveaway! :D

  14. Hmm, looks like a beautifully touching story. I haven't read a lots of books like this one for along time! Time I go back to one. Great review, loved it.

  15. I tend to shy away from afterlife-themed stories, but this one sounds really good- I'll have to try it out someday. The pacing sounds a bit weird, but I don't usually have many quibbles in that department, so I'm not too worried. :)


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