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Touching the Surface

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,421 ratings  ·  236 reviews
Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.

When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn't remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right. Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Simon Pulse
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,421 ratings  ·  236 reviews

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Jul 29, 2011 marked it as to-read
Tee hee.

This book will be published on my birthday. I'm so lame, cracking up about things that don't matter....
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, paranormal, romance
TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini (Simon Pulse - 9/4/12)

I am the lucky first from the Class of 2k12 debut writers group to read this beautifully written, highly anticipated ARC of Kimberly Sabatini’s TOUCHING THE SURFACE, about a teenage girl named Elliot’s death and her experience in the afterlife. Anyone’s death gives us cause to think about life, but the death of a teenager is especially tragic. I got this ARC in the mail a week ago, one day after I learned of the sudden death of an
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I like this book because I think the author thought it out very well and it has a good story behind it. I like how the book flowed. It wasn't confusing at all. I really liked the concept of how you could create things in mid-air. My favorite character was the main character, Elliot. I'm glad that she wasn't too dramatic because I hate that. I really liked the origami cranes in the story and I also think that all of the characters were well thought out. I think that it's really cool that my mom m ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini was one of the most touching, beautiful books I have ever had the chance to read. It was marvelous in just about every way, and was a perfect debut from Kimberly Sabatini.

I loved Kimberly Sabatini's take on the afterlife. It was refreshing and new. Kimberly Sabatini managed to create this perfect balance in Touching the Surface - there were just the right amount of funny scenes to balance out the more serious, and it was such a treat to read. Kimberly S
May 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I'm pretty sure I just didn't get this book. It wasn't poorly written, it was an interesting concept, but I hated the main character and couldn't get around it, even when she figures things out. It didn't help that the phrase touching the surface is said several times in different ways. I wanted to put it down, but the glowing reviews made me think that it would just click at some point and i didnt want to give up so soon. I should have. Sorry, it just wasn't for me. ...more
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
There's something particularly fascinating about books set in the afterlife. It's a purely unknowable world, yet at the same time one that might actually exist. In Kimberly Sabatini's afterlife - the Obmil - you get three chances to examine your past and complete your life's journey next time. Elliot Turner is a Third Timer and knows this is her last chance to get it right. It's time to go past the surface.

Elliot's journey to self-discovery is complicated by two things. One, her best friend (who
Tanja (Tanychy)
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

While many books try to explain different mysteries of life, mostly my favorites are the ones that have the eventual setting but don't focus on it, but on characters. For that reason after reading it you realize that it doesn't matter where you end but how did you live.

Touching the Surface stars like that, when Elliot bursts from the lake into the surface of a well-know place to her. For the third time she is back to Obmil. You have no idea what is that? Do
Jessie Harrell
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow - talk about a book that makes you think. Elliot gets to look back on her life and suddenly all the selfish, thoughtless things she did are apparent. But they weren't when she was living them. Made me think about all the things we take for granted in life and how we can be selfish without even knowing we are doing it.
I really enjoyed how the story alternates between Elliot's life and afterlife. How we get to put the pieces back together right along with her. How we see her over-react and gro
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I normally don't read paranormal type books, but I knew I had to read a book written by Kim Sabatini. The book was beautifully written. It took me awhile to understand the whole afterlife part, since I normally don't read those types of books, but after I got the understanding of it, I was absorbed by it. Excellent book Kim!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait to read another. ...more
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ladies and gentlemen, buckle up because this is going to be one long review. Why, you may ask, is this going to be an exceptionally long review? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. This book made me feel so many different emotions. I loved it, then I hated it, then I loved it even more, but I went back to hating it. It's so wonderfully complex that I didn't know what to feel. And it took an insane amount of deliberation for me to decide on a rating that I think it rightfully deserves. But ...more
Elizabeth M
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-3
This book was incredible! I loved it! Congratulations Kim on getting published! I am so glad to finally have gotten to read this, since my sister stole it from me... LOL. I loved nearly every aspect of the novel, from the writing to the setting- I mean, who couldn't be interested by the Obmil?- to the CHARACTERS to the plot as a whole. I actually wasn't sure how much I liked Elliot at first, and I definitely wasn't sure about puppy-dog Oliver, but as the book progressed I grew to love and unders ...more
A.C. Gaughen
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are books that I enjoy profoundly as an adult, and then there are books that give me this yawning ache in my chest because I wish, I wish they had been around when I was a teenager, and hurting, and lonely, and thinking about all these questions of life, love, death, forgiveness, and this strange notion of forgiving yourself.

TOUCHING THE SURFACE is both of those books. I loved it--a lush fantasy (seems like the wrong word for it, but still) world of ever changing dimensions, Elliot finds
blondie ♡
Can't wait for this one! I have such a thing for dark and snarky guys :) ...more
Tamara Stone
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully told story about the importance of forgiveness and self-discovery.
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Beautifully written and thought provoking. Can't wait for another book from this author! She is definitely in my top favorite authors. ;)
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: october-2012
Read all my reviews at

4.5/ 5 Stars

Touching the Surface is an unusual book. The entire book takes place in the Obmil, or Limbo, the place between Heaven and Hell. The characters that we meet, protagonist Elliot, her ex-best friend, Julia, Mel, a counselor at the Obmil, Trevor and Oliver and the rest are not exactly people, but souls. Souls that have wound up back at the Obmil, which is, as you might surmise, a holding area of sorts. The place a soul goes after "death"
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in the afterlife
One of my very favorite subgenres of fiction deals with stories about the afterlife. I spend a rather indecent amount of time considering what life after death might consist of and my only completed work of fiction dealt with that topic. Touching the Surface has been on my radar because of its subject matter, its beautiful cover (which looks like the work of my friend Annie and fits the book perfectly), and the author's participation in the Apocalypsies. As ever when embarking upon a book with h ...more
Lisseth (Read-a-holicZ)
**Originally on Read-A-holicZ, HERE!**

Going into this book I was a bit worry, because i didn't know how things would turn out. I had read a few afterlife books that left me confused and uninterested after a few pages BUT OH.MY.GOD!!! This is one of THE best afterlife books i have EVER READ SO FAR!!! [my reaction is below @ finding this great read!]

The author created a place that was warm, creative, unique and captivating. I was literally speeding through this every time i pic
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, signed, read-in-2013
Touching the Surface, from it's original storyline to the beautiful cover was a book I loved reading. Elliot's transition into the afterlife was at times poignant and bittersweet as she tried to come to terms with her life, her death, and the value of her soul. This is a story about connection, growth, and, of course, love.

The setting was fascinating. Touching the Surface is set in a place called the Obmil where those who have died "delve" into their memories to try to understand what lessons t
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted on my blog

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini blew my freaking mind. Touching the Surface is one of those books where I was going “what the effffff” all the way through and still found myself sobbing at the end.

I’m at a loss to describe my feelings for Touching the Surface. It was just unbelievably beautiful and freaking confusing and just one of those books that is going to stick with me.

I loved that Touching the Surface wa
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was an absolutely beautiful book. The concept of the afterlife, heaven, limbo, hell, etc., was flawless and a refreshing take. You always hear of hell being demons and fire, but this had a new spin.

Basically, Elliot has lived three lives, and when she dies, she always ends up back in Obmil, which is Sabatini's view of purgatory, or limbo. Each soul that ends up in Obmil has to go through a workshop to help them relive their memories. The overall goal is to learn from the past mistakes and b
S.J. Pajonas
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
You know how sometimes you pick up a book that you have preconceived notions about, but then you read it, and it changes you? That's what happened here. I thought I knew what I was going to read before I even opened the book, but I should have known better. Ha! The author, Kim, and I go back several years, to the time we were at a wedding together and she said she was a YA author looking for an agent. My, how times have changed! Kim never ceases to amaze me with her creativity, honesty, and enth ...more
T Grace
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Touching the Surface is a story of love and surviving pain to come to a place of understanding. It is deceptively entertaining, but from the start helps us grapple with universal questions regarding the purpose of our lives and how to live them. The main characters are passionate young souls who have suffered in their all-too brief lives. They end up in a dream-like place where they must continue to learn and grow or repeat their mistakes. Each time they Delve, reliving memories, we get another ...more
Katie Carroll
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Touching the Surface is as much as about how to live life as it is about what happens after you die. Although Elliot, the main character, isn't always the most likable person, Kimberly Sabatini managed to write her in a way that made me root for Elliot the whole story. There was enough mystery in Elliot's journey that I wanted to read as fast as I could to the end, but the beautiful writing and images made me slow down and savor the language. A wonderful debut novel! ...more
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have had the pleasure of watching this book grow! I have read her manuscripts three different times and can not wait until I have the publish copy in my hand! Thank you Kim for allowing me to be part of this journey with you!
Stacy Mozer
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is impossible for the reader of this book to only "touch the surface." Each character has so many levels of emotional depth, some that can be guessed, but most that are slowly revealed through visits to the characters former lives. Well done! ...more
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
I wasn't sure how I felt about this story for the first half, but the second half definitely won me over. It had so many great, thought provoking messages and it's one of those books that makes you feel like life isn't as serious and harsh and absolute as it feels sometimes - it's all about your mindset. Everyday life makes it really easy to lose sight of the bigger picture of reality, and it's really important to realign your viewpoint from time to time so that you don't get stuck in the rut of ...more
Amanda May Thai
3 stars.
Delving into your memories is more painful than it sounds.

Elliot Turner has died...again. When she finds herself in the afterlife for the third time, she knows she has to up her game as this is her last chance to reach enlightenment. Elliot must 'Delve' into the memories of her past life, the ones full of hurt, pain and sorrow. As Elliot starts to put the puzzle together, she realises that she and her friends might have a connection that could make or break their chance to move on.

Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The tale begins when Elliot bursts from the surface into the Obmil or afterlife. She discovers she has died again and is now a third timer to the Obmil. Here she will need to gain perspective and delve into her past life in search of answers and acceptance. Only when she reaches enlightenment will she moves on to her next life. The tale that unfolds was filled with mystery, painful memories, happy memories and characters that kept me enthralled.

I adored and appreciated the diverse and fleshed ou
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Aug 06, 2015 11:35AM  

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Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a domestic engineer. After her dad passed away in 2005, she used writing as a way to make sense of the experience and discovered that she’s full of questions that need to be answered. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of ...more

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