Karina Halle's Reviews > Above

Above by Leah Bobet
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May 04, 12

bookshelves: own-to-read
Read from March 18 to May 04, 2012 — I own a copy

I really, really, really wanted to like this book. Why?

A) It has a beautiful cover (yes, I can be shallow)

B) I shelled out money for the hardcover, looks so pretty on my shelf

C) Canadian author

D) Toronto is on the cover. I mean, heck I hate TO most of the time (but I’m from Vancouver so it’s my right) but when was the last time a Canadian city was on a YA cover? This was supposed to do me proud, y’all

E) It sounded interesting

F) Some of the prose was really gorgeous

I really, really, really didn’t like this book. Why?

A) Some of the prose was really purple.
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(that's right I'm bringing out the images)

Like super purple. ULTRAVIOLET PURPLE. Poetic license forged, confiscated, then revoked. And Everything is capitalized. Well, only Some things but it’s things that shouldn’t Be. It's Gimmicky.

B) Sentences are so purposely convoluted. It doesn’t make sense. To me, anyway, and maybe you, when you read: “The tunnels are always dark, but I know from dark, right now they’re darker than they ought to be.” – So what you’re saying is it’s dark?
“Everything under my eyelids is red. Red and long-fingered and slicked in blood and the curve of a broken horn” – So what you're saying is you have pinkeye?
“Whisper’s crying, harsh little inhales like a sock-foot sliding along stone” – So…wait, wuht?
“A little cold hand pokes into my belly, taking away the last of the morning’s quiet, the smell of mellow honey and wax that I took in from the pillow and held close to keep me warm.”

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C) I didn’t like a single character. The MC, Matthew, I just…no...there was no connection. I couldn’t relate. He was passive and obnoxiously stubborn and ridiculously in love with Ariel who is a waste of space. And oh, a bee.

D) And gross. Ariel is always being ungrateful and whiny and trembling all over like something terrible has happened to her so you should feel sorry for her yet you don’t because she’s just a flat, useless character who turns into a bee when angry and attacks everyone and her wings spout out from her back and fall off and ew.

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E) I like weird. This was bad weird. It was bad weird because it was boring. It took me months to read this. There was no flow. I stumbled over weird phrases and adjectives and metaphors and whatnot when simplifying it would have made it go much faster, much smoother. Look, I get it. It’s different. It’s arty. But if you’re going to be that different and arty, don’t do it with a different and arty setting and a dystopic future with zero world-building. Do it to something normal. The weird in this book didn’t need the help. We already have crab men with claws and red eyes and bee girl and lionfooted scale-backed dude and psycho hermaphrodites and...


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F) The book made me feel stupid. Like, perhaps if I were smarter I would get the intricate prose and subtle nuances. But I didn’t and I’m fine with that.

Alas, Above just didn’t do it for me. I’d love to see what the author does with her next book. She's unique. She has potential to write beautiful things and make words come alive but it just needs to be toned down and put in a place where it will add to something, not subtract from it. That's just my two cents, of course. Obviously the Toronto Arts Council and Scholastic wouldn't quite agree with me.

Summary: This book was not for me. The end.

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Reading Progress

03/21/2012 page 40
11.0% "Bobet has quite the poetic license with her prose, but it's thrilling and beautiful."
04/09/2012 page 49
13.0% "I started reading this three weeks ago then put it down. Not the easiest book to just jump back into."
04/24/2012 page 111
30.0% "Really wish this book didn't try so hard to be poetic. Really wish the MC wasn't so hung-up on the waste of space that is Ariel. Really wish I wanted to keep reading."
04/29/2012 page 136
37.0% "Getting vaguely more interesting. Still don't want to make this a DNF - damn my stubborness."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Jean (new)

Jean ..Is it bad that this book sounds to me like what a really bad acid trip would be like? O_O


Karina Halle That's kind of what it's like, but it lacks the intensity. It's not a horrible book by any means but *flying sound* way over my head.


❋ Sylvia ❋ You're lucky. I only made it to chapter 2 :O


Adonia Nicole This is the most confusing book I have ever read. Half way though and seriously what is going on? I started reading this book in Jan, found it so boring and I put it down after chapter 2. I'm back at it today and I don't even know if it's worth finishing. I'm so bored. I have never not finished a book....


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