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TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini

TOUCHING THE SURFACE

By Kimberly Sabatini

Age Range: 13 - 18

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4424-4002-9
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

This ambitious take on the afterlife doesn’t quite deliver.

Seventeen-year-old Elliot Turner has arrived at the Obmil—a Limbo-esque destination for the departed—for her third and most likely last time. Before souls can move on to the unknown beyond, they must reconcile issues from their past lives, but they are only given three chances. Also entering the Obmil is Elliot's best friend Julia (who has been with her throughout her two prior lives, but didn’t factor into her life as Elliot), the handsome, charismatic Oliver and the dark, brooding Trevor. The quartet knows that they share a connection, but have no access to their past memories unless they Delve, an act somewhere between a lucid dream and hypnosis. As the group Delves, they find they must confront their greatest fears and discover the tenuous bonds between them. Predictably, there is a love triangle among Elliot, Oliver and Trevor, and while the scenes with the tempestuous Trevor have some smolder, the tension amid the trio sizzles out abruptly. Similarly, Julia and Elliot's relationship seems to have a lot of drama, but it never gets the development or attention it deserves and often takes a hurried back seat to the brewing angst between Elliot and Trevor. The concept, while intriguing, feels rushed and cramped.

Like the wayward souls in the book, some of the plotlines seem to unfortunately get lost in the fray. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)