Author: Isla MorleySummary: I am a secret no one is able to tell. Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an abandoned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Determined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give meaning to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promising and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom. Above is a riveting tale of resilience in which “stunning” (Daily Beast) new literary voice Isla Morley compels us to imagine what we would do if everything we had ever known was taken away. Like the bestselling authors of Room and The Lovely Bones before her, Morley explores the unthinkable with haunting detail and tenderly depicts our boundless capacity for hope. ~powells.com
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction,Dystopian
Bottom Line: An intriguing look at what captivity is and what freedom really is
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Review: Above is a harrowing story of survival and what it means to be a survivor. Blythe is kidnapped when she was 16 and is held captive for the better part of her young adult life. She is taken for the purposes of recreating the world after it ends.
Above is the kind of book that you don't want to put down because you want to find out what happens to Blythe. You want to know that she gets her Freedom. Like Blythe you imagine what her freedom will look like; tears of joy, people lined up to see her, hugs and kisses from her parents. What she gets isn't what her fantasies have been during her captivity.
Ms. Morley does a fantastic job of pulling you in and never letting you go. She makes Blythe's plight harrowing, heartbreaking and painful to read about. Just when you think this is about a kidnapping, survival and freedom, she turns the whole story on a dime. I honestly had no idea that the story was going to go that route and if I had known, I might not have picked it up.
Having said that, I would have missed out on a truly wonderful book. The setting of the novel in rural Kansas only adds to the desperation her escape and freedom. I wish that some of the plot lines had been more flushed out. There are things that I wished I would have learned more about towards the end of the book but I understand why she only included so much. Some of the them could have their own book.
This book will draw comparisons to Room but Above is so much more than that one. Other than being a book about being in captivity and having young protagonists, Above moves a step past that and examines a world that I hope we never come to know.
For fans of a good, edge of your seat book with wonderful characterization, then go grab Above.