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Above Hardcover – March 4, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476731527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476731520
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Kidnapped on her way home from a summer festival in her corn-country hamlet of Eudora, Kansas, 16-year-old Blythe Hallowell spends the next two decades of her life in an abandoned Cold War-era missile silo, dozens of feet underground. Her abductor, high-school librarian Dobbs Hordin, is a “conspiracy theory du jour” survivalist who has chosen Blythe to play Eve to his Adam when the apocalypse comes. Having outfitted the silo with all the building blocks for a new civilization, Blythe and Dobbs are left to play a deadly and protracted waiting game as one scenario for annihilation after another fails to occur. And then one day, well into middle age and accompanied by the teenage son she bore while in captivity, Blythe manages to escape her insane captor’s grasp, only to find that one of Dobbs’ worst-case predictions has actually come to pass. Morley crafts a menacingly sinister tale of imprisonment and eerily inventive story of survival that will appeal to fans of riveting psychological suspense and cut-throat dystopian fiction. --Carol Haggas


“Quite moving…intriguing and provocative." (Kirkus Reviews)

“Morley tells a compelling story that builds suspense…a true page-turner. Half abduction story half dystopianfiction, this novel will appeal to fans of both.” (Library Journal)

"Reeled out with the chilling calmness of a Hitchcock film, Above haunts as it illuminates. Deftly told, this tale of human resilience in the face of madness is a horror classic for our times." (Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe)

"The isolation and darkness wrap you like wild vines and force you to face the nightmare, but Above plunges you forward and drives toward hope, because sometimes that's all that remains. This is a novel that challenges you to believe." (Michael Farris Smith, author of Rivers)

“Morley crafts a menacingly sinister tale of imprisonment and eerily inventive story of survival that will appeal to fans of riveting psychological suspense and cut-throat dystopian fiction.” (Booklist)

“Morley’s writing is magnetic, instantly attaching the reader to the story. We see, we feel, and we cringe at the victim’s circumstances.”
(NY Journal of Books)

"Morley scores with an audacious page-turner. In a series of gripping twists, Morley elevates the complexities of Blythe and Adam’s situation, deepening the themes of survival and dependence… a stellar and surprising ride.” (Publishers Weekly)

"A riveting, heartstopping tale of determination, love and hope for the future." (Fiction Addiction)

“A compelling tale of survival, reinvention, and hope. . . . Vivid and poignant.” (The Boston Globe)

“Grips your heart from the first page and doesn’t let go. . . . A novel to savor.” (Sara Gruen)

“A poignant, read-in-one-sitting tale . . . [that] firmly establishes Morley in the pantheon of such insightful authors as Chris Bohjalian, Sue Miller, and Anita Shreve.” (Booklist)

Customer Reviews

I started this book not knowing what to expect and found that I could hardly put it down once I started the read.
As I said earlier, I enjoyed the stream of consciousness type of writing early on, but towards the latter half of the book there’s just too much description for me.
To not give away the plot line, I will say this book did what others often failed to do, finishes the entire story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I sit down to read a book, I find a comfortable spot as I usually plan to be there for some time. With ABOVE, I never found that comfort zone because I was putting it down every few chapters. Why? It was such an intense read that I had to walk away but was only able to stay away for a few minutes before I was right back into it. I had to know more. If there’s one thing I didn’t expect from this book, it was the intensity.

At 16, Blythe Hallowell is a smart girl, not necessarily boy-obsessed, but there is one boy she can’t wait to see at the Horse Thieves Picnic. When he is called away and doesn’t return, Blythe is hurt. Walking home later, a local man named Dobbs Hordin drives by and tells her that her brother has been hurt. She gets in the car with him, and instead of being the day she met a boy at the picnic, it becomes the day she goes missing from Eudora, Kansas. Dobbs is a local survivalist and has been preparing a missile silo for the end of days. He takes Blythe to the silo, locking her in with his other gathered possessions. When the door is locked, her life all but stops.

During the first few days and months of her captivity, Blythe focuses solely on getting out. She wants to go home to her family, her best friend, and walk in the sun again. Blythe soon comes to the sad realization that isn’t going to happen and is a crushing blow to her mentally. Months pass, and she falls slowly into a dark place fueled by loneliness, anger and despair. After she gives birth to a stillborn daughter, her mental state becomes even more precarious, making even her captor nervous.

Seventeen years pass, and Blythe, Dobbs and their son Adam live out their meager lives in that silo. All Blythe can think about is her son and going above.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
4.5 stars - Abduction and Apocalypse - a story of "survival, resilience, and hope."

First off, this novel has little to no similarity to either ROOM or to THE LOVELY BONES. To compare them is to do all of the very different stories an injustice. Start with an open mind.

Blythe is just 16 years old when she is kidnapped and taken down below ground into an abandoned missile silo in Kansas by a disaster survivalist who has created an impenetrable bunker deep in the bowels of the earth. Dobbs Hordin met Blythe when he was working in the Eudora high school library and abducts her while she is walking home from a town celebration. He's completely convinced that armegedon is imminent and has made complex and complicated plans for survival and for propagating the species afterwards. The first part of the book deals with Blythe's life while imprisoned in the silo. Every day and each event that Blythe endures in the dark and stale compartments below the Kansas plain is one of self-sacrifice and infused with desperation for freedom and return to the family and life she knew before. Dobbs makes frequent missions outside of their compound and returns with supplies and news -- but he is not to be trusted so Blythe has no way to know what is really going on in the world above. Blythe struggles as she is first required to be Dobbs's mate and then to raise a child. She tries to stay alive and mentally intact through her memories but all she can think of is getting OUT.

That day of emancipation comes after 17 years in captivity and what she finds when she and Adam open the doors of the silo is not at all what she had prayed for, hoped for, or imagined it would be.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf on August 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Good:

~Morley does an amazing job of keeping the reader actively wondering and pondering about the world she’s created.
~All of the characters are so well fleshed out and multi-dimensional that at times it’s easy for the lines between good and bad, right and wrong to blur.
~The amount of detail put into describing the silo and Dobbs was exemplary and made her life below that much more realistic and harrowing.
~Even though I suspected the turn of events that occurred in the 2nd half of the book, I was still somehow surprised…I suppose Morley made me doubt myself and I love that I could never 100% accurately predict what was coming.
~It’s easy to understand what Blythe is going through and feel for her. The development of her character alone and how she grew and developed within the constraints of her abduction is amazing.

The Not So Good:

~I wish that a bit more of her early days, months and years below and been fleshed out to give a better feel for the psychological trauma that she went through.
~I think that the transition between the 1st half of the book and the second could have been a bit smoother. It almost felt as if I were reading two books.
~I had trouble placing the time period for this book. At times I assumed it was current small town America…but Blythe’s behavior and the details from before her abduction almost felt like it could have been the 50′s.

Final Thoughts:

What is Reality? What is Myth? I love books that make me think and keep me guessing. Above did both.

Note: Review copy rcvd from Publisher, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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More About the Author

Isla Morley grew up in South Africa during apartheid, the child of a British father and fourth-generation South African mother. During the country's State of Emergency, she graduated from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth with a degree in English Literature. By 1994 she was one of the youngest magazine editors in South Africa, but left career, country and kin when she married an American and moved to California. For more than a decade she pursued a career in non-profit work, focusing on the needs of women and children.
She has lived in some of the most culturally diverse places of the world, including Johannesburg, London and Honolulu. Now in the Los Angeles area, she shares a home with her husband, daughter, a cat, two dogs and four tortoises.
"Come Sunday," her debut novel, was awarded the Janet Heidinger Prize for Fiction in 2009, was a finalist for the Commonwealth Prize, as well as the AudieBook Award. It was longlisted for The Sunday Times award. Her latest novel, "Above," published in 2014, has been selected as an IndieNext pick, a Best Buzz Book, and Publishers Weekly Best New Book.

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