Friday, November 9, 2012

Apocalypsies Love! Book Review: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Apocalypsies Love is all about me telling you what I loved about a 2012 debut book written by one of the amazing Apocalypsies. I also chat with the author to gain insight into their very favorite parts of their creation.

Today I'm featuring TOUCHING THE SURFACE, a YA fantasy set in the afterlife.

It's no secret I love afterlife books (after all, I wrote one), and I'm always struck by how very different they are from one another. While they often share the theme of living life to the fullest and learning to let go, the author's vision of the afterlife is what sets these stories apart.

In TOUCHING THE SURFACE, Elliot is back in the Obmil (get it? Limbo written backwards?) for the third time. Which is ... not so good.  This is her last chance to get things right so she can move on to what's next.  But Elliot isn't much for self-examination and doesn't want to delve into her past life memories - that is until she discovers her connection with two very different boys and wants to solve the mystery of why one seems to love her unconditionally while the other hates her with a burning passion.

TOUCHING THE SURFACE is an example of a book that's pushing the boundaries of what YA can be.  In her third life, Elliot died as a teen, but in her first, she was a twin brother who died in his 80s and in her second she was a middle-aged woman with a marital crisis. Obviously as this is YA, the narrative concentrates on the particulars of Elliot's teen life, but we also get glimpses of the overall person she is in the afterlife, one shaped by all of her earthly experiences.  It's a fascinating and immersive examination of the consequences of our actions and choices.  

And now..... here's Kimberly!

What is your favorite scene in the book? 
Ha! There's this scene that takes place in a little boat and I just love the humor and tension between the characters. And then there's an epic scene that I can not name because it would give too much away. And the end always gets me--no matter how many times I've read it and… I'm gonna stop now. *bites lip*

What is your favorite line in the book? 
The dedication. It means everything to me. But if I had to pick a "line" from the actual story, I'd pick this one, which is really just a part of a line. "But all it takes is one small change in perspective…" I believe that so it resonates deeply with me.

What setting was most fun to write? 
By far everything having to do with the Obmil. My imagination is so thankful for the creative license. I think about the field of sunflowers often. I'd like to sit there myself.

Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
Julia Going because she has always been so elusive. I have had to tug her out of cracks and crevices to find out who she really is and I still think I haven't completely discovered everything there is to know about her. Perhaps she will come knocking on my door again some day.

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far? 
Working with my editor, Anica Rissi and my agent, Michelle Wolfson. I've learned so much and I can't explain what it feels like to have someone love your book with the same passion that you do--its amazing. And ARCs of really good books. I LOVE it when I get to read an amazing book before it's out on the shelf. I feel like a special conspirator. Now if I could only read faster!

Thanks Kimberly!

TOUCHING THE SURFACE is available in hardcover now. Find out more about it at the author's website

FTC disclosure: Review copy from publisher


Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

I love this concept! Figuring out the motives of the boys sounds pretty exciting. I love tension and I look forward to this book and of course the author's favorite scene! Thanks for sharing! :)

~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed reading and reviewing this book. It's so unusual, and kind of hard to wrap your head around and talk about. But the writing was seamless and easy to understand and the descriptions of the Obmil were gorgeous.

I like how you point out that this pushes the boundaries of YA. I feel like it crosses over several genres and age groups.

And I loved all the characters but I think my favorite was Oliver:)

Christina said...

The variety inherent in afterlife novels is a big part of why I'm so drawn to them as well. You can pretty much do anything you want, so long as you retain the internal logic of your story. People's imaginations can really just run wild, and create the gorgeous fantasy landscapes found in books like Touching the Surface or creepy ones like in Level 2.

OH MY GOD. I feel like SUCH an idiot. I totally did not figure out the Obmil thing. Was that explained or just a cute thing for people to notice? I'm extra dumb if that was explained. *facepalm*

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. I thought you would!

Carol Ann Michelle Publico said...

hmm this sounds like an interesting read. I'm not that familiar with afterlife novels, but this book seems to be quite intriguing!