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3.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,861 ratings  ·  451 reviews
I read that word in one of Atticus's thick old books once. When I went to Jack to ask what it meant, he held his hands out and they glowed so gentle I thought they might kiss the air, and since that day I wanted a place that was iridescent, that lit without burning. Being in love is sort of like that, when it's real. When it's true.

Matthew has loved Ariel from
Hardcover, 363 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Jonathan Sean Lyster Yes, it is. It doesn't name the city, though their are references to streets that make it clear the city is Toronto.…moreYes, it is. It doesn't name the city, though their are references to streets that make it clear the city is Toronto.(less)

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Average rating 3.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,861 ratings  ·  451 reviews

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May 03, 2011 marked it as to-read
I have no idea why I want to have this book. I didn't even read the blurb. I guess the cover did it for me.. *ashamed* ...more
Emily May

Oh, I did not like the way this book was written. At all. It's weird but I actually tend to like it when authors write their novels in strange dialects, I think it adds a certain uniqueness and personality to the characters, for example, in Blood Red Road. However, the use of it in Above was teeth-grindingly annoying for me. The sentences became disjointed and simplistic, it felt like a book for a much younger audience at times because of this.

Also, I felt absolutely zero connection with th
Sep 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc, own
That's it I give up. Page 204 and I still don't know what's happening. Someone played Mad Lib with my copy and I'm not impressed!

It's written like the protagonist never learned to speak properly and although it worked for me in Blood Red Road, It's really confusing in this. Random words are capitalized and sometimes he means a person, other times a thing. But I never keep up on which is which. It's all showing, not telling/explaining and with the awkward writing style I'm just not following.

*I w
Steph Sinclair


I was really hoping to love this book since it is the first print ARC I received directly from a publisher. Unfortunately, it's just not for me. At page 10 I knew we weren't going to get along and I was right. Damn, sometimes I hate being right. The writing style is way to choppy and hard to keep up with. I felt like I was concentrating entirely too hard while reading. That is a problem. So, I put the book down thinking Above and I just needed our individual space. Whenever I walked past m
Apr 10, 2012 marked it as read-sample-lost-interest
On to the examples:

But tonight it’s not the half I need, because there’s Atticus, spindly crab arms folded ’cross his chest, waiting outside my door. His eyes glow dim-shot amber — not bright, so he’s not mad then, just annoyed and looking to be mad.

“Teller,” he says, calling me so instead of Matthew to say it clear: that I owe him my life, the food in my belly, the tin roof and plank walls and tapestry-carved door of my home. My Sanctuary. “She’s your responsibility. And you’re responsible to
Above is a deeply human tale. Bobet takes human problems, human hates, human sadnesses and disappointments, and human hopes, and wraps them up in a jarringly sparse, backwards prose about an underground community of Freaks, who wish for nothing more than to be left alone.

Above is a challenge, evidenced by the numerous reviewers who've abandoned ship before they ever set sail. Which is a shame, because while this may be categorized under paranormal and science fiction, it's really no more than a
Feb 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Gosh. I understand that it was meant to be all Matthew's POV and everything...but it didn't make sense. Sorry Leah!

My favourite line to have a mental image of: "'His eyes glow dim-shot amber - not bright, so he's not mad then, just annoyed and looking to be mad. The glow's enough to light up the tapestry on my door."

My favourite 'aww' line:
Ariel: "I like the sky. I need it."
Matthew: "I'd be your sky."

A few of my reactions to this book:

The reason I'm so upset is, truthfully,
Karina Halle
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own-to-read
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
Mar 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I should start out by saying that I can't write very good reviews for books I don't like. It's not that I don't know what I don't like about them, because I do; I simply cannot bring myself to put down a work of art that an author has worked for so long and hard upon. That being said, Above is a perfect example of why I became so dubious about dystopian novels. Unfortunately, I picked up Above with none of my usual qualms, probably because the last few dystopian novels I read had been utterly re ...more
Jake Rideout
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, sad story.

Underneath the world is a place called Safe, where anyone Sick or Freak or Beast is given Sanctuary. Matthew, the Teller, was born there. It is his duty to collect the tales of Safe so that they can be recorded for future generations.

And then, on Sanctuary Night, the unthinkable happens. Suddenly Matthew finds himself in Above with a ragtag collection of refugees from Safe. He must use all the skills he has--for Telling, for Passing, and for loving Safe--to help re
Lindsay Cummings
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing of the most amazing books I have EVER read, with gorgeous mystical, lyrical writing, where every single sentence is a secret dying to be unlocked, and every paragraph is a clue to help solve the overall heart-pounding mystery. It had me breathless, and teary-eyed, and in complete and total awe. Leah Bobet is a master storyteller, and I will never forget the first time reading this book. Dear sweet Jesus, I wish I had read it years ago. That, or written it myself :) 5 stars, 1000 if I ...more
Cheryl Klein
This gets the usual "I edited this, I'm biased" caveat.

And with that said: OH MY WORD this book is incredible. It is gorgeously imagined -- the story of an underground community where a man with electricity in his fingertips or a girl who can shapeshift into a bee can hide away, and what happens when those people are forced into the world, our world, Above. It is even more gorgeously written, with certain phrases used at certain times that will crack your heart wide open (especially in the cent
Evelyn Swift (Featherbrained Books)
I can't explained exactly how I feel other than borrowing Giselle's quote "I still don't know what's happening. Someone played Mad Lib with my copy and I'm not impressed!"

This had some serious Mad Lib issues. I can't remember the last book I picked up and didn't actually finish reading. It was probably years and years ago but I just could not get through this book!! I'm one of those people who ALWAYS has to finish a book, no matter how bad I think it is, but this one was too painful. Its really
Mar 08, 2012 added it
Shelves: in-my-book-case, dnf
The language and writing style was impossible for me to follow. I had to go back numerous times and re-read passages. The book is short, but the time it took to try and decipher what the author was actually talking about was entirely too time consuming. I couldn't get attached to the characters and I didn't care for the plot at all. The descriptions of the characters/monsters were too vague for me to even try to picture them in my mind, the dialogues were packed full of nonsensical words and dia ...more
Xan West
Jun 04, 2017 marked it as do-not-read
Decided not to read based on the information about the genderqueer & intersex rep in this review:

Also because I found out that (view spoiler) This is not the genderqueer & intersex rep anyone needs, especially ge
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, cover-love, ya, 2012
Matthew was born in Safe, deep under the city Above; it's all he's ever known. Safe, his mother who died when he was three - she had gills in her neck; his father who had lion's feet - he went up Above and never returned when Matthew was ten; and the forty-odd other misfits escaping the whitecoats Above. Some, like Matthew, can Pass, can look Normal and go Above for supplies. (His Curse hides under his clothes.) Others, like one of the five founders, Atticus, are obviously Freak: crab's claws in ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
First off I should say that this book is written for teens not grown ups so a teenager may very well like this book for all the reasons I don't.

I started reading this because she is a Canadian author and the cover is freakin' cool. Hello, fly girl and the CN Tower? Amazing. It took me until page 6 to realize the book is not written from the perspective of the girl, but some boy and that is actually where I have stopped. Besides not getting whose POV the story was from I find the writing style di
Jul 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Yes, I am CURRENTLY reading this. I won a copy at Leah's reading at Readercon. So far, so good... ...more
C Hellisen
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, favourites
This book.

OMFG it is beautiful and I am sitting here sniffling and my fingers are shaking.

Book of the year so far. Fucking amazing.

Actual review to come when I get my thoughts straight.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Breathtaking. That is the best word I can think of to sum up Above. I find it extremely hard to believe that this is Leah's debut novel, it's just so well done that it seems like she has written countless novels before this one. It's honestly hard for me to figure out where I want to begin with in regard to the review, because there is so much about this book that just screams amazing.

It's so hard to describe the writing in this book, it's very different than anything I have ever read before. It
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Leah Bobet’s Above has amazing cover art, and I’d be lying if I said that that didn’t influence my decision to add it to my wish list. But adding a book to my list doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll buy it. What tipped the scale was a positive mention by one of the book bloggers I trust for quality young adult and middle grade sci-fi and fantasy recommendations – Charlotte’s Library. I know I say it over and over, but one of the best things about blogging is finding fellow readers with similar taste, ...more
Sigrid Ellis
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-fantasy
ABOVE starts out with the destruction of Safe, home to our narrator, Teller. Safe, an underground home to Freaks and Sick, is invaded by Killer, a Freak previously cast out by Safe's leader, Atticus. The rest of the story is, on one level, the tale of how Teller and other refugees from Safe return to their home and defeat Killer.

I began the book with a sense that this was an okay story. Perfectly fine. The plot didn't quite hold together, and a number of the character motivations were weak, but,
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The writing style of this book made it difficult to muddle through and often times I just didn't want to pick the book back up, however I am very glad that I did. This book was completely different than what I expected, I expected it to be another distopian fight against the government type of book. Instead this book is about people discovering who they really are as they fight their own past demons and on-going mental issues. The book was way more about the characters own issues than the outsi ...more
La La
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved Leah's writing style. It was like a breath of fresh air!! Hoping there is a trilogy!! I stayed up half the night to finish reading it. I couldn't put it down!
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions.

What on this crazy, polluted planet did I just read? Seriously, I just finished reading this and I have no freaking clue. If this book were a person, it would likely end up in a straitjacket, trapped in the sorts of institutions many of its characters have been at one point or another. Mix together One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Dust Girl, and I think you've got something that roughly approximates Above.

The world depicted herein does have interest
Mairéad (is roaming the Undying Lands)
Hmmm, this is my first time writing a review. I just felt compelled to be honest. Most notably because a friend of mine had asked about this book and since I was already reading it, I figure 'why not'?


Firstly, this book is more of a 3.5 for me for various reasons. Mostly because this book leaves me rather mixed: half good, half bad. Particularly on the subject that most will either get what's going on or be lost forever in the details and dialogue. I however hung in there
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Imagine a world with monsters with strange powers locked in our mental institutions to protect the public and study them. Now imagine those monsters broke free and lived in the sewers under your city. Well, with Above you don’t have to imagine because it’s exactly what you get.. from the monsters’ perspective.

Above is another book I have mix feelings for. Leah Bobet is a Canadian debut author, Above is a dystopian book and it has this insanely pretty cover. From the moment I heard of it, I’ve b
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Okay, it was not the easiest book to read. However, I did find it hard to put down. It was about people who were different and they hid in the sewer. It was their home and it was called Safe.
Atticus had crab claws, Jack - lightning fingers and electricity flowed through him; Matthew (Teller) who weaves and carves their tales on the doors to Safe - has scales on his back and big feet with claws; Ariel(the girl who Matthew loves) is a bee; Whisper can talk to ghosts and hear messages from the win
Natalie Garside

Above is at once a love affair with a cityscape, an homage to the power of storytelling and a reckoning with the reality of human suffering. It's written in a lyrical staccato of descriptive pairs that struck a kind of musical harmony between the first person narrative of a teenage boy and his gift for luring the stories out of everything around him. It is told in a 'dialect' but one borne of of the moral of this tale, that of enduring hope through despair. I think that was the most interesting
Jan 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Throughout the entire book Leah Bobet makes a desperate attempt at sounding poetic, stuffing as many flowery words and descriptions into a sentence as she possibly can.

"Above" reads like a first novel without an editor. Indeed, Bobet's attempt at conveying emotion and sentimentality fall very short. The characters are under developed and uninteresting, making their personal relationships shallow and dull.

Leah is constantly trying to get us to feel something by killing off characters we know al
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I drink tea, wear feathers in my hair, and plant gardens in back alleys.

My first novel, Above, was shortlisted for both the Andre Norton Award and the Prix Aurora Award, and my second, An Inheritance of Ashes, was the winner of the Prix Aurora Award, the Copper Cylinder Award, and the Sunburst Award; an OLA Best Bets Selection; and shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Award

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