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Above is a YA urban sci-fi/fantasy novel by Leah Bobet.

From the moment Matthew found Ariel in the tunnels, her golden hair and iridescent bee’s wings falling away, he loved her.

He took her to Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above – those that are different. There’s Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, Atticus with his crab-like claws, and Jack Flash who has lightening in his fingers – among many, many others.

As much as Matthew tries to give Ariel safety, however, whatever happened to her has made her frightened, withdrawn, and traumatized…

One night an old enemy of Safe arrives with an army of Shadows and only a few of Safe’s people escape to Above. While they figure out what happened below and how they can reclaim their Sanctuary, they’re forced to try and blend in Above – the most dangerous place for people like them. It’s here that Ariel was hurt, though he doesn’t know how, and it’s here he fears losing her forever to the past she seems unable to speak of.

It’s also the place that Matthew begins to unravel long-hidden deceptions about the place he’s called Home and the people he’s trusted…

Above is irrefutably unique.

Leah Bobet presents us with a puzzling, complex story that takes place in an intriguing, gloomy, different world. The graceful, soft ambiance smoothes out the oddities and questions that filled my mind and took me on a sweet, raw love story between Matthew and the skittish, emotionally scarred Ariel.

I kept wanting to know more details – like what year it was, what happened for these deformities to begin, what those who weren’t effected thought was going on, etc. I can’t say my questions were ever really answered. Yet there was a poignant power to the writing – though I often wished the language and narrative were a bit clearer.

Above is a difficult book for me to review. I was confused half the time, yet swept away the other half. In it is such a lovely, heartfelt, unusual story that I wanted to absorb and follow – but I always wanted more.

I encourage you to read it and see for yourself what you think. I think it’s more than worth it – even if I would suggest being ready to not be completely satisfied at the end.

Above, in the end, seemed to be a story of finding the difference between healing and hiding. And, despite my own uncertainties, I encourage you not to hide from Above.


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