I got Above through Netgalley. I wouldn’t have even seen it had I not received an email suggesting it as a good fit for me. As soon as I saw that it was in the vein of The Lovely Bones and Room, I was definitely intrigued.
Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she’s abducted by her school librarian, Dobbs Hordin. Hordin, a survivalist, stashes her underground in an abandoned missile silo. He denies that he has kidnapped her—rather, he claims that he has saved her from the impending apocalypse and that he and she will have to repopulate the earth when it is safe to reemerge from the bunker.
Blythe endures all manner of abuse at Dobbs’s hands—mental, physical, sexual—with but one hope to sustain her: that she will eventually return to her family. When a desperate bid for freedom is finally successful, her only thought is to find them, but the world has changed beyond what she could have ever imagined. Now, she has to find a place for herself—and her son—in a world that no longer feels like home.
While I’ve enjoyed many, if not most, of the e-galleys I’ve received from Netgalley, there are very few that I feel I need in hardcover when they come out. Above is one of those few. It’s one hell of a page-turner, which is something that I find a bit harder to experience on an iPad, so it would be nice to have actual pages to turn! And also, I want to see more from this author, Isla Morley, so I want to support her as much as I can.
Above was absolutely one of those books that I just lost myself in. Blythe’s first-person perspective was beautifully written and exquisitely detailed. I saw through her eyes, heard through her ears, and felt her pain. I struggled with her, longed with her, dreamed with her. It’s a rare author indeed that can make me feel that. I actually had nightmares a few times about this book, but that just made me love it more.
I have to say—the second half of the book is not at all what I was expecting. I won’t spoil it, obviously. I will say that I was initially disappointed with the direction Morley chose to go; it wasn’t what I wanted for Blythe, who had suffered so much already. But in the end, there was much more of a story to be told in that direction, and Morley told it wonderfully.
Not much more I can say except that Above comes out today, March 4, and you should definitely read it.by