Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review and Apoc Love Interview: Above by Leah Bobet

Matthew and Ariel live in the tunnels under the city, hidden away from normal people because of their genetic mutations - until their sanctuary is attacked and they are forced to go above. Because Matthew loves Ariel, he tries his best to make her feel safe - no matter the cost. Much of this novel is internal - exploring Matthew's personal struggle as he tries to figure out who he should trust and where his sympathies should lie.

It's also pretty twisted and dark.  Those below don't trust anyone above because of the experiments that were performed on many of their kind.  So when they're forced to take sanctuary with an above nurse who sympathizes with their plight, not everyone's on board.

Bobet has some gorgeous turns of phrase and she writes tender moments between characters incredibly well.  Due to the inclusion of a lot of unexplained terminology and inner monologues, the prose is quite dense and may be a challenge for those expecting a breezy, action-oriented read.

And because Leah is an Apocalypsie, we also get an Apocalypsies Love interview with her today. Leah reveals what she especially loves about her novel.

What is your favorite scene in the book?
There’s a fairly quick scene between Matthew and Ariel that takes place in the tunnels, near the end of the book, which is still to this day terribly sweet. It makes me proud of both of them, because they grow so much between the beginning and that spot, and yet they’re still so completely themselves, and always will be.

And that’s my favourite.

What is your favorite line in the book?
The very last one – partially because of the way it falls off the tongue, but partially because of the weight of everything leading up to it, and how much one line can mean when it’s carrying the rest of a book behind it. And, of course, no way will there be spoilers on that!

What setting was most fun to write?
The tunnels that lead to Safe, definitely. It meant looking at all kinds of photography and maps of the sewers and storm drains below Toronto, and sliding in all these soft and creepy and silent details to see them through Matthew’s eyes.

Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
Oh, two different answers there: My favourite of the supporting characters is Jack Flash, most definitely. He’s blunt and smart and no-bullshit, and he sees just about everything that goes on; he’s probably the most clear-headed person in the book. But the one who could most conceivably get a spin-off would be Beatrice, who at nineteen is working two jobs andrunning a sort of safe house for teenagers like her – the ones who have decided they need to get off the street and get their lives together. If I ever write in this universe again (and that’s a very, very big if) she’s the one who has access to the most, well, story.

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
Last April, Scholastic brought me down to their Spring 2012 sales conference to be one of four debut authors who would meet and speak with the sales reps, marketing and publicity staff, book designers, editors, and everyone else attending. Mostly, our jobs as authors were to read a little bit and say five minutes worth of stuff about our books, and how they came to be. But it was also the first time I got to meet my editor, Cheryl Klein, face to face, and find out she’s just as awesome and fun and smart in person as she is over the phone or in e-mail; and it was the first time I got to talk to a room full of people who had actually read ABOVE, and had reactions and thoughts and opinions about it!

It’s maybe something left over from working as a bookseller, but I love seeing people react to books: what they loved about them, or hated, or what struck them deeply or as weird or funny. And all of a sudden, here was a room full of people – publishing professionals, no less – reacting to my book, and telling me what worked for them, and what touched them (they were much too polite to say so if things didn’t work so well!).

It was the first time I really emotionally realized that yes, this book was going out into the world, and people were going to read it for real. And it was glorious.

Thanks Leah!

ABOVE comes out April 1, 2012 . Find out more about it at the author's website. Check out Leah's ABOVE preview interview from last Dystopian August.

See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

FTC disclosure: I picked up this book at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2011.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. I loved hearing about Leah's experience at Scholastic. I'd love to have Cheryl Klein as an editor.

I just got my ARC for an interview of Leah in early April. Can't wait to read it.

Zibilee said...

This sounds excellent, and though it's a denser read, I don't think that will keep me away. I also would have loved to get a chance to be in that conference room when the authors were speaking!

Rebecca said...

I'm super excited to read this! Great interview.

Erica said...

I am SO excited for this one - I am excited to read the scene that is Leah's favorite :)

Dani said...

I didn't know any about this book so this interview was very interesting. About the conference... I'd love to go to one of those someday. I had never attended to a BOOK conference. but it'd be awesome I think..

Great interview! :)


Unknown said...

I am so looking forward to this book. When you say it is a denser read, the first thing that popped into my mind was Incarceron (a densely packed book I adored.) I know the premise of Above is totally different but I am hoping to enjoy it as much as I did Incarceron:) GREAT interview!

Jasmine Stairs said...

I hadn't realized until reading this interview that Above is set in a version of Toronto! I know that skyline! Or at least, I know it from flying through. Go Canada! :D

Evie said...

What an interesting concept! I need this book now and I already know that I'm going to like the relationship between Matthew and Ariel.
And that cover is gorgeous!

Kulsuma said...

The first thing that strikes me about Above is the stunning cover. Another book to add to my reading list!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the heads up, will make sure I set aside some time to really get into this one. We have an ARC from Scholastic so we will get started reading soon!

Vivien said...

This is probably at the top of my wishlist for this year. The premise sounds like one I'll cling on to and never let go!

roro said...

I'm super excited to read this! Great interview.