HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Above by Leah Bobet
Loading...

Above (edition 2012)

by Leah Bobet

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2391548,266 (2.79)6
Member:aleciastone
Title:Above
Authors:Leah Bobet
Info:Arthur A. Levine Books (2012), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

Above by Leah Bobet

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Matthew lives in a place called Safe, which is an underground haven for all sorts of outcasts from society, whether they’re like Atticus, the founder who has pincers like a crab, or like Ariel, who is hiding some sort of trauma and turns into a bee when she’s afraid. Matthew was born in Safe and has scales and clawed feet. He is also the Storyteller for the community, and memorizes the stories of each person in Safe and how they came from “Above,” a world similar to our own. However, Matthew doesn’t know everything about people like Ariel, Atticus, or Corner, the only person ever to be exiled from Safe, for a horrible crime. When tragedy hits Safe itself, Matthew has to protect those in Safe, while trying to find out what really happened to Corner and to Ariel.

First off, I need to admit that this is one of my two favorite debuts this year, and I think it’s completely brilliant. I’ve read a lot of reviews for this, and the one complaint that I’ve seen the most, and completely disagree with, is that it’s confusing to read and illogical. Matthew, the narrator and POV, uses words a little strangely, it is true. But it’s the dialect of Safe, and it is internally consistent and logical throughout the book. Just compare it to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: it’s difficult to read and interpret sometimes, but totally worth it, AND much easier than Huck Finn, in my opinion. I loved the language in this, and the way they use words just a little bit differently than us. But the main thing I want to say is that if you can persevere through the difficulty, this book is very, very rewarding. There’s also the “confusion” of one of the character’s gender, but it’s an intended mystery within the story, so you’re supposed to wonder about it, and the answer we are given is perfect for the character and the story.

I really loved all the characters in this. Matthew especially, but Jack Flash, Ariel, Whisper, Corner, and Atticus were so real, so complex, and so interesting that I loved every moment with them, even when they made bad choices, or REALLY bad choices, but especially when they were strong and did the right thing. Corner and Atticus tore my heart into shreds, so there’s also that.

I’m not going to talk too much about the portrayal of mental illness, because I’m not qualified, but I thought it was respectfully done. It shows several different ways of behaving towards people with mental illness, and the characters that have to struggle with it are not defended or blamed at face value, but they are held responsible for their moral choices. There is a lot of fear in this novel, fear of “Them,” of mental illness, of “Above,” of people down below in Safe. All of the characters struggle with it, and some of them overcome it.

My favorite part of the book was the point of view: the choice of which was perfect, Matthew is the perfect person to tell this story. He’s the Storyteller, and while reading his story, we see him making choices on how to present stories, whether it is Jack Flash’s story of his time Above, or the overall story in the novel. We see how other characters perceive, interpret, or tell stories, whether or not they are true. Matthew himself controls much of the truth about the other characters, because he is the keeper of the stories. This makes him very powerful in influencing the choices of others, although not completely responsible, and it’s a very interesting part of the plot of the novel. The past of the characters is very important to the present story—they almost run parallel to each other, with important events in one influencing or reflecting important events in the other. Matthew thinks about this often and learns the importance of getting the past straight so one can deal properly with the present.

(also posted at my blog, bahnree.blogspot.com) ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
Matthew lives in a place called Safe, which is an underground haven for all sorts of outcasts from society, whether they’re like Atticus, the founder who has pincers like a crab, or like Ariel, who is hiding some sort of trauma and turns into a bee when she’s afraid. Matthew was born in Safe and has scales and clawed feet. He is also the Storyteller for the community, and memorizes the stories of each person in Safe and how they came from “Above,” a world similar to our own. However, Matthew doesn’t know everything about people like Ariel, Atticus, or Corner, the only person ever to be exiled from Safe, for a horrible crime. When tragedy hits Safe itself, Matthew has to protect those in Safe, while trying to find out what really happened to Corner and to Ariel.

First off, I need to admit that this is one of my two favorite debuts this year, and I think it’s completely brilliant. I’ve read a lot of reviews for this, and the one complaint that I’ve seen the most, and completely disagree with, is that it’s confusing to read and illogical. Matthew, the narrator and POV, uses words a little strangely, it is true. But it’s the dialect of Safe, and it is internally consistent and logical throughout the book. Just compare it to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: it’s difficult to read and interpret sometimes, but totally worth it, AND much easier than Huck Finn, in my opinion. I loved the language in this, and the way they use words just a little bit differently than us. But the main thing I want to say is that if you can persevere through the difficulty, this book is very, very rewarding. There’s also the “confusion” of one of the character’s gender, but it’s an intended mystery within the story, so you’re supposed to wonder about it, and the answer we are given is perfect for the character and the story.

I really loved all the characters in this. Matthew especially, but Jack Flash, Ariel, Whisper, Corner, and Atticus were so real, so complex, and so interesting that I loved every moment with them, even when they made bad choices, or REALLY bad choices, but especially when they were strong and did the right thing. Corner and Atticus tore my heart into shreds, so there’s also that.

I’m not going to talk too much about the portrayal of mental illness, because I’m not qualified, but I thought it was respectfully done. It shows several different ways of behaving towards people with mental illness, and the characters that have to struggle with it are not defended or blamed at face value, but they are held responsible for their moral choices. There is a lot of fear in this novel, fear of “Them,” of mental illness, of “Above,” of people down below in Safe. All of the characters struggle with it, and some of them overcome it.

My favorite part of the book was the point of view: the choice of which was perfect, Matthew is the perfect person to tell this story. He’s the Storyteller, and while reading his story, we see him making choices on how to present stories, whether it is Jack Flash’s story of his time Above, or the overall story in the novel. We see how other characters perceive, interpret, or tell stories, whether or not they are true. Matthew himself controls much of the truth about the other characters, because he is the keeper of the stories. This makes him very powerful in influencing the choices of others, although not completely responsible, and it’s a very interesting part of the plot of the novel. The past of the characters is very important to the present story—they almost run parallel to each other, with important events in one influencing or reflecting important events in the other. Matthew thinks about this often and learns the importance of getting the past straight so one can deal properly with the present.

(also posted at my blog, bahnree.blogspot.com) ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
Thank God it's over.
The writing style was too difficult for me to decipher. Using slang and bad grammar for a character can work sometimes but it was just too confusing. I had no idea what was going on sometimes. ( )
  Meg_121 | Dec 12, 2015 |
Right away when I started reading Above, I wondered if the writing style was going to be this way through out the entire book – because as I hit page two I was thinking “this reads like how a 7 year old talks” with either incomplete sentences or run on sentences and disjointed thoughts that jump hither and thither. It lacked the reading flow which would have been necessary for me to get past the unique writing style and enjoy the story beneath it. I can see what Leah Bobet was trying to accomplish here by choosing the form of dialect she did for her narrator but I don’t think it needed to be so extreme.

The environment and world that Leah Bobet built for her characters was very convincing in the challenges that the characters faced. You could see how a person raised away from the ‘normal’ world would come to view it having been ingrained with so many prejudices and fears against the people living there. Matthew was a resilient character that I came to respect, he wanted to help everyone but he also had his selfish motives as well, which I thought was a good balance. I did want more of a mental picture of him and found that I didn’t get that until nearly halfway through reading. He was focused so much of the time on Ariel that I think the only other characters I got a really good impression of visually were Atticus and Whisper.

I kept reading hoping that the characters and story would suck me in and send me racing through the pages. This unfortunately, didn’t happen. I don’t believe that was due to poor story building, just my personal inability to get comfortable with the narrative style. By one third of the way through the book I was really struggling to continue reading. Another point that bothered me quite a bit was I wondered, why was the girl, Ariel, featured on the cover when she wasn’t the main character. Personally, I feel that too many YA covers lately have some pretty imagine of a female’s back on the cover. I would have found it more appearing if Matthew would have been the cover since he barely described himself enough and Ariel was given more than ample physical description. Of course this might have been bias on my part as I really didn’t like Ariel’s character much at all. For most of the book, Matthew, is practically swooning over Ariel, whom he had taken into his home in ‘Safe’ about 8 months prior. She seemed unappreciative in so many of her actions, and the excuses he was making for her to people, I couldn’t help getting fed up with.

It is understanding that a story unfolds at it’s own pace, but I was starting to compare the story itself to the dialect. A few times as I would move from scene to scene I asked myself, ‘now what could be the point of this?’ – but I just wasn’t getting it. There were a few scenes that were pointless to me right up until the end when all the pieces come together. Due to this I didn’t feel the continuity through out was there.

By the time I was two thirds of the way through Above, I was still trying to like it and failing.

*Beware spoiler here* -
as I mentioned I wasn’t fond of Ariel, but at this point BAM – the author throws out the token abusive ex boyfriend and her having run back to him after Matthew is gone for but a few hours, and I was just done, done I tell you. At that point I was officially disgusted with her. To me the abusive ex boyfriend angle was a big mistake and didn’t fit at all with her past behavior, the whole secrecy thing and “don’t you know you aren’t supposed to tell…” vibe Ariel had just didn’t match up with just some abusive ex boyfriend. I felt it was a poor pairing. Even though later on it’s redeemed somewhat with the fact that she’s actually schizophrenic and had been in another asylum type of facility where she received “therapy” – you don’t learn this until almost the very end, which by then the information to me fell flat as I’d already had my anger spurt with the story so many pages previous.
*End spoiler*


I thought after completing this that I still don’t think the narrator’s speech would have been this extreme. My reasoning for this was due to a number of the ‘freaks’ that came to live in the underground sanctuary of ‘Safe’, were into their late teen years or older by the time they started living there, and a number of them were educated. As we learn our speech patterns from those we grow up around, I can’t see why there was a need for Matthew to speak the way he does. I’ve read a number of other books written in something other than plain English and never had the problem that I had with Above. There were sometimes instances where I had to go back and reread a few lines over just to make sure that I was understanding it correctly. The story itself I thought was interesting and unique with some definite lessons to be learned within it but ultimately, Above was not my cup of tea mostly because of the style it was written in. ( )
  Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
I really wanted to like this book. But..I didn't. It was really confusing and I had a really hard time grasping what was going on. It was a little to fast paced with no map of what everything meant. It wasn't the plot that i didn't like just the execution. Some may have a better time following it than me ...shrug...dunno just didn't work for me. ( )
  justablondemoment | Oct 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
"My last supply duty before Sanctuary Night, I get home and Atticus is waiting."
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

When insane exile Corner and his army of mindless, whispering shadows invade Safe, a secret, underground community of freaks and disabled outcasts, Matthew, traumatized shapeshifter Ariel, and other misfits go to the dangerous place known as Above, where Matthew makes a shocking discovery about the histories entrusted to him.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
66 wanted1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (2.79)
0.5
1 6
1.5 1
2 6
2.5 2
3 4
3.5
4 10
4.5
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,933,867 books! | Top bar: Always visible