Book Review: Above by Isla Morley

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This book is okay. The main problem I had with this book is that it feels like it’s two books crammed into one. The first half deals with the kidnapping and the captivity of Blythe while the other half deals with the aftermath of the escape. The biggest issue I had with this is that the tone of the book changed instantly. I would have much preferred it to be a gradual change because it made the book feel inconsistent.

Plot: I definitely preferred the first half of this book. It seemed less rushed. It certainly made me gasp and feel horrified. It’s about a girl named Blythe who is kidnapped by the school librarian and paranoid prepper, Dobbs. The first half of the book tells the story of her years in captivity. I thought this was quite well done for the most part. The next half of the book is about what happens after the escape. I won’t give away anything, but it seems as if there is something to what Dobbs was saying after all.

I like that this book makes you think. It deals with captivity, hatred, finding hope, forgiveness, and belonging. However, the writing is a quite messy sometimes and jumps around a lot which was quite distracting. I found myself having to reread things which definitely took away from the story. And overall, I wanted to feel hope. In captivity stories, hope should be one of the main aspects of the story, but I didn’t feel that here. For the most part, all I felt was horror and fear which I was not fond of.

Characters: I had a big problem with Blythe. Her emotions and reactions didn’t feel quite real, and I couldn’t connect with her, and in a book about captivity, this connection is essential. For quite a while I thought this was set a long time ago because Blythe is very old-fashioned, but it turns out that’s not the case.

I also had a problem with her son, Adam. I understand that Adam has never seen the world above the silo, so he is very innocent and naïve, but it was just too much. Adam makes a lot of stupid mistakes like calling attention to them when they’re trying to escape. He is too childlike. For example, there is a scene where they must keep walking and avoid being followed and pursued, and Adam sees a dog. No matter how much his mother tells him no and that it would only hinder their progress, Adam is stubborn and wants the dog. Adam is hardheaded and naïve to the point of being irritating.

Overall, I thought this book was okay. I’m not a big fan of the writing because I feel it’s a bit jumpy and messy, but I did like reading about the silo years. It made me feel fear, hope, hatred, and love. I definitely would have liked more consistency from this book and more realistic characters. This book says that it is a cross between Room and Lovely Bones, but I feel as if it is more like Room, so I would recommend this to people who liked Room. I can see the appeal, but it just wasn’t for me.

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