Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Touching the Surface Blog Tour: review and giveaway

We blog about books to share our passion for reading and love of books and authors. It is days like today that make blogging especially wonderful. Today is a special day at Reader Girls. We are ecstatic to be today's stop on the Touching the Surface Blog Tour. We are HUGE fans of author Kimberly Sabatini and her debut novel, Touching the Surface (one word: Fantastic!). Besides shining the spotlight on this title, we are sharing our review and there's a giveaway to enter.

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini 
YA paranormal 
Hardcover/eBook, 352 pages 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Release date: October 30, 2012 
Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.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 the afterlife again, but she knows 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.

About the author:
(Photo credit: *Author photo by Dawn Sela Photography - www.dawnsela.com.)

Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for three and four year olds. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys.

Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. TOUCHING THE SURFACE is her debut novel. (Simon Pulse – Simon & Schuster, October 30, 2012)

I have read a lot of paranormal and I can honestly say I haven't read anything quite like Kimberly Sabatini's Touching the Surface (and that's a very good thing). This YA touches upon the afterlife in such a cool and unique way that after I finished reading questions and thoughts inspired by the story kept bubbling around my brain. Elliot has died for the third time and winds back at the Obmil. She's expecting to reconnect with her best friend, Emma, but her friend has other ideas. The world the author creates is incredibly picturesque, with a touch of mystical with the way the dead that are there temporarily can change its landscapes. There's a cast of characters who are present at the Obmil the same time as Elliot. There's the dreamy Oliver with his unconditional love for Elliot, Trevor who shares a special connection with her, and her old friend, Emma, who is now called Julia. 

What really struck me about the story was the ease in which I fell into reading it. Only after a few pages I felt I knew these characters and wanted to spend time with them. The writing is poignant and creates such lush visual landscapes. As Trevor tells Elliot she's the one changing the landscape, I couldn't help but think of the Robin Williams' movie What Dreams May Come. That movie boasts some beautiful imagery and so does Touching the Surface. I loved the symbolism of the birds from eagles to hummingbirds to the origami cranes and the idea of freedom, of flight. There was such a surreal feel to the story created by the lyrical prose. I never regarded the afterlife as something like the Obmil but I now wouldn't mind landing there when my time is up. The idea of going someplace and being able to figure out your life plan, what you did wrong, sounds so sensible and right. The idea of reincarnation and being given the gift of having the opportunity to invoke change in your next existence is such an appealing concept and explored here. The streams of life and how Elliot watched one man preparing to enter one stream gave me goosebumps.

What I also enjoyed, immensely, was the mysterious aspects of Elliot's story. Told in first person, Elliot's tale takes place in the Obmil and in flashbacks called the Delves. One quick fangirl moment: the Delves were incredible! I found myself looking forward to each one. Each time Elliot or Trevor sank into a delve, my heart sped up waiting to see what connection in life was divulged next. I won't give any spoilers so I will move on and mention Elliot. Although I liked all of the characters, Elliot is my favorite character. She's sassy, awkward, timid at times and other times overbearing, and she is so real. Her doubts and confusion over her feelings and attractions to Oliver (Star Wars fan boy, oh yeah) and Trevor make her endearing and her fear over her actions in her past life made me want to hug her. I also developed a fondness for the moody Trevor with the gorgeous eyes and cool t-shirts with changing slogans (a cotton billboard of  interchanging emotions complete with snark--every teen should have one).

Touching the Surface is not only thought provoking, it's moving. As Elliot and Trevor return to see snippets of their past, the mystery deepens, and I waited anxiously. Kimberly Sabatini is a gifted writer and has quite an exquisite imagination, yet approaches the heavy subject matter of the afterlife with a gentle, artistic approach. The story is compelling and needs to be made into a movie. I know the author from my local SCBWI meetings and I can happily confess how impressed I am by her writing and this incredible book.

Rating: 5

Some favorite quotes:
"I felt closer to this memory than I should feel in someone else's Delve. If this is what it felt like, simply touching the surface of Trevor's intense emotions, I was grateful that I didn't have to handle it from his perspective."

"It's not so bad," I shouted. "The separation, I mean." I felt dumb after I said it, but Oliver nodded his head in agreement.
"It's because I'm full," he called back.
"Of pizza?"
"No--full of you."
"When I first saw you, I felt like I was running on empty. As if I'd been away from you for far too long. I needed an Elliot fix."

"Obviously there wasn't a hell or I would've been magically transported there instantaneously. Or maybe this was hell. Maybe heaven was innocence, limbo was ignorance, and hell was fiery illumination."

Cover comment:
I've been in love with this cover ever since I first saw it. Lovely!

Book source:

Week One
July 8 – The Book Cellar – Guest Post (w/link to review)
July 9 – Alluring Reads – Review 
July 10 – The Happy Booker – Guest Post
July 11 – In Bed With Books – Interview (w/link to review)
July 12 – The Book Belles – Review

Week Two
July 15 – Parajunkee – Guest Post
July 16 – Reader Girls – Review
July 17 – Books Complete Me – Interview
July 18 – Imaginary Reads – Review
July 19 – The Irish Banana Review – Review

A SIGNED hardcover copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini to FOUR (4) winners – US ONLY.  A SIGNED hardcover copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini to ONE (1) winner – International ONLY. Must be 13 or older to enter. Giveaway ends July 22 at 12:00 a.m. Pacific. There'a also a SPECIAL giveaway on Kimberly Sabatini's website for readers who review her book. Get the details here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Oh wow great review! Excerpts were awesome.

  2. Honestly I want to read this one because of the awesome cover! I also love the afterlife concept and it sounds like it's done really well here. :D

    Julia @ That Hapa Chick

  3. First, THAT COVER! So pretty. As soon as I saw it, I added it to my TBR list. Also, it just sounds like a very unique book, which is something I love in YA - a lot of books start to blend in with one another with their similarities, but that's def not the case for this one. Excited to read!

  4. After reading the review I want to read the story since it sounds like a story unlike anything I have read before.

  5. I looking forward to read it because I like the excerpt and I want read more, love the review and really looking forward to read it..
    thanks for the giveaway

  6. The excerpt was great...and I love the cover!

  7. I want to read it because I like anything paranormal and this sounds different from what I have been reading lately. A nice change of pace! Thank you for the giveaway!!
    Bonnie Hilligoss - bonhill@speakeasy.net

  8. Excellent review!