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Review: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Touching the Surface - Kimberly Sabatini

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 really...off 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?