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Above Hardcover – April 1, 2012

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Above

"Above pulls off that rare trick of being convincing and utterly magical at the same time." —Emma Donoghue, New York Times bestselling author of Room

"Leah Bobet's Above is that rarest of creatures, combining the outspoken honesty of a good first novel with the craft of a seasoned professional." —Elizabeth Bear, Hugo Award-winning author of Dust

*"[A] dark, dazzling tale...Bobet effortlessly blends reality and fantasy, her characters are both gifted and broken—hers is a world that is simultaneously fantastic and painfully real. Heartbreaking, romantic, complex, and magical, this fantasy lingers on the senses." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Bobet fearlessly takes the reader to uncomfortable places, where, as Matthew discovers, there is always more than one side to a story." —Quill & Quire

"[A] profoundly moving meditation on how we treat the mentally ill, disabled and homeless...Above is a soulful and spellbinding debut novel." —The National Post

"A tremendous adventure, as well as a meditation on how our mythologies shape us...a gorgeous tale." —Toronto Life

"[Readers] willing to go along with this captivating exploration of both individual and collective identity will find themselves pondering its implications long after the last page." —Kirkus

About the Author

Leah Bobet’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Rhysling Award. She received a 2008 emerging writers’ development grant from the Toronto Arts Council. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books; 1 edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545296706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545296700
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Leah Bobet drinks tea, wears feathers in her hair, and plants gardens in back alleys. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she writes literary fantasy and young adult fiction about the secret hearts of cities.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Book Sake VINE VOICE on April 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Book Review (ARC)
This is definitely one of those books that you will either love or hate. It just didn't work for me. It was really hard for me to follow along with the style of writing. Matthew is telling the story, as that's what he does, and he uses a broken down form of English, which made it time consuming and irritating to wade through. Had it been presented in normal-everyday English I probably would have liked the story a lot better, and as I write this review, the 3/5 rating that I gave the book is feeling pretty generous.

What I did like about the story was the separate chapters in which we hear the story of all of the other characters in the book. Their individual stories were more interesting than the major storyline. In the beginning I couldn't tell if Matthew was feeling love as a father figure for Ariel, or what was going on. I didn't have a grasp of what their age ranges were or what the author was trying to express with their feelings. I really, really, really wanted to like this story, but it just didn't work for me.

Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Welling on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First Impressions: Cover love doesn't even describe how much I swooned over this book! I needed to have it and it didn't even matter to me what the book was about, at least not until I read the synopsis. Then I really wanted it, because the plot sounded awesome. It sort of reminded me of those scary old mental institutions where people use to shove all of the outcasts of society, and those people were consequently tortured and experimented on just because they were different or ill. I was very happy when my copy of Above showed up so I could start reading it.

First 50 Pages: This book was very challenging for me to read and comprehend. In fact, I think it was the hardest book I've read in a very long time. It took me forever to finish the whole book and I felt mentally exhausted by the time I was done. I'll just come out and say it. I don't think the majority of people, especially teens, are going to be able to follow along with the writing style and I think that many people are going to try to read Above, maybe get through the first few chapters, and then give up trying to understand it. Let me explain more.

Characters & Plot: This story revolves around two very different worlds; The world of Above and the world of Safe. The people who live in Safe are basically refugees trying to escape the harsh realities of Above, where they do not fit in, are mistreated, and where people are frightened of them. They come to Safe to be, well, safe. It's a haven for them.

The people who come seeking refuge in Safe are basically chimeras, at least that is the way I was picturing them in my head. Each character has one or multiple unique attributes that make them very different from everyone else, with some attributes being more obvious than others.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on April 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting from Above, but it wasn't this. I wanted to like this book, I really did. The cover is compelling, the blurb is filled with all kinds of promise...but the book just didn't deliver or feel completely right. The issue didn't have anything to do with the plot or the characters, but the writing style.

Above is written from the first person prospective of Matthew, an uneducated mutant who has lived much of his life in the isolated underground community known as Safe. And the writing style fully reflects Matthew's thought process. Written in an almost stream-of-consciousness style, Above's style reads like a broken translation of another language from a not-well-versed translator. It's incredibly difficult to read or fully comprehend, and there is so much slang used here (without much of an explanation) that's it hard to understand what's going on for the first 50 or so pages of the book. I found myself re-reading several passages just to get a sense of what the slang meant based on the context. There were some things that I didn't fully understand for the duration of the entire novel.

This really affected the setting as well. It was impossible for me to get any sense of where the characters were, or what they world they lived in was like. I got that they were different, which was bad, but there didn't seem to be any more depth beyond that. It just really bugged me that I couldn't see the world or the characters at all.

Which brings me to some of the redeeming qualities of this book: the characters and the unique storytelling. (Reading this book wasn't a complete waste, by the way, but really frustrating and confusing.) This book is set up in a unique way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By yesandthankyou on May 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Now, I'll tell you this, from the reviews, I was a bit wary going into this book. Most of the reviews say something about how the language is strange and the "slang" is hard and so forth. But honestly, the cover looked amazing to me and I'm willing to try to get through a few language difficulties to get to a good story. And I had just purchased my Kindle, and it was only $10 or so - not a bad price!

First things first: people, get over yourselves. This book was not hard to read. Try reading the first part of The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner and then come back to this book and tell me it's hard to read. If the "slang" is a problem, try reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and tell me THAT isn't confusing. Tell me Finnigans Wake by James Joyce isn't hard to read. I'm sure there are numerous other books to put here that have a rather challenging narrative. (And if you're asking, yes, I have read all of those books...or at least tried. Finnigans Wake was too much for me!) If the reason you pass this book is because of the reviews saying it was too hard to understand, don't. Yes, it's written in Matthew's point of view, and Matthew does have a very interesting point of view. But the way he tells the story isn't difficult to get through. When you read this, know that it's not all told to you upfront. Things will be explained. The book isn't written in usual prose, but it certainly wasn't enough to stop me from enjoy the story. Think of a ten-to-twelve year old telling a story (even though Matthew is around seventeen or eighteen, I believe).
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