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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).


Title: Touching the Surface
Author: Kimberly Sabatini
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Publishing House: Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781442440029
Source of Copy: Sent for review by author

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 this after-life again, but it's clear this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she'd rather keep buried. Memories of people she's hurt, people she's betrayed... and people she's killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she's hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves... even if it means losing them both forever.

(Image courtesy of Goodreads; Summary and information lifted from actual book)

"...Over and over, we die so we can start again. What's the point of the pain - of the missing?" -p. 267

Elliot is dead. Again. And she's back in the Afterlife trying to find out why she can't seem to move on. She must unravel her past mistakes and the secrets that keep her stranded in this afterlife alone and confused. But that isn't exactly easy when you have two familiar boys, tugging you in different directions. Add to that her feelings of abandonment by her best friend, Elliot finds that figuring things out seems to be way more complicated and confusing than she initially thought.

Sabatini has managed to create wonderful characters who are easy to fall in love with. Elliot is one such character. She starts off self-absorbed, selfish and a bit childish at times but we think that that's exactly how the author wanted to portray her as. And it's also because of those flaws that we find it easy to relate to her on account of how real she is - she's a human being just like the rest of us. But because of her friend's abandonment Elliot is left adrift and alone, she's riddled with insecurities and undeniably confused about everything but instead of just giving up she muddles through them and it was delightful watching her grow as a character. She realizes that sometimes, you just have to learn to forgive yourself. We couldn't help but feel that Sabatini was making a statement that we are human, and we are real because of our imperfections. Being dead doesn't seem to really change the fact that you were once human. 

Trevor came off as a jerk at the beginning. He was confused, angry, and Elliot seemed to be the target of his animosity. But as the story progressed, Trevor - like Elliot - grows as a character. Thanks to his actions, not to mention his Delves with Elliot, we find out that he's a pretty sweet guy and it was cute watching him and Elliot interact as they learned more about their past since they realized that they were both irrevocably tied together. It was fun getting to know these characters and watching them overcome their struggles and pains. 

Despite the slow and confusing start, we were surprised that as the plot went on, we had already found ourselves oriented in the world Sabatini has created. Trevor's erratic mood swings left us a bit stunned at first, and we did find Elliot a bit too overdramatic in the first few chapters, but they soon mellow down and become people we were soon rooting for.

"This isn't the first time I've been to heaven, I just didn't know I was there before... it doesn't really count if you don't know it's heaven, does it?" - p. 313

What made this book truly worthy of the 4 stars we're giving it was Sabatini's interpretation of the afterlife. We imagine that that is very much an ideal place for lost souls to transcend beyond their boundaries and grow. The fact that the book raised very insightful philosophical aspects with regards to death, life, rebirth, freedom, and acceptance did not go unnoticed as well. Sabatini reminds her readers that as long as we are capable of our human faculties, we will always have a choice. These choices may seem to be the right one, or the wrong one but we still have to make them. Also, choices are neither wrong or right; we make choices that appeal to us, and in the same manner that not everything appeals to everyone, good choices and bad choices are pretty much subjective. Sabatini makes us grapple as well with our dealings with acceptance.

Another aspect of the book that delighted us as well was the sheer gorgeousness of the quotes.

"One side, one edge - and if you try to separate us, cut us into two, we don't fall apart. We simply make a bigger version of what we already are." - p. 326

Touching the Surface really caught us off-guard with all the layers (See what we did there?) that the book has, in the same way that all of us are in different layers of acceptance, and different levels of our own personal hell right now. But the message of the book is very much clear: There is more to life, there is more to yourself, there is more to other people than these things initially let on. In the words that Kimberly Sabatini has scribbled all over our swag, "Don't be afraid to delve."

We'd like to take this chance to thank Ms. Kimberly Sabatini for sending us a copy of Touching the Surface. However, given the circumstance, the review has not been compromised in any way. Our commitment is to our readers, and we take pride in our honest reviews.



  1. I've had this book on my shelf for a while but never got around to reading it yet. Great review, it really makes me want to read it now!
    This book sounds really intriguing with the whole afterlife aspect, and I love how you talked about the layers in it :D

    Richa @ City of Books

    1. Thank you! Touching the Surface is definitely worth a read. :) Hope you enjoy it!

  2. I am very curious about the author's interpretations. What a great review, and so glad you shared this one!

    1. Kimberly Sabatini's take on the afterlife is interesting and definitely worth thinking about. Thank you for dropping by!