Allison: Touching The Surface | Kimberly Sabatini | Book Review And Giveaway

Kimberly Sabatini

Em (Love YA Lit), April and I with Kimberly and one of the first official ARC’s of Touching the Surface

The first time I met Kimberly Sabatini, I was attending a Hudson Valley YA Society event at Oblong Books with April. I honestly cannot remember which event it was or who approached who first but I do remember her sharing that she was from the Hudson Valley area and that she was going to be a debut author in Fall 2012. We immediately become very excited for her and were lucky enough to witness some of the excitement that built as she prepared for the official release day. In fact, we were one of the first people able to see one of the first official copies of the ARC of her book Touching the Surface! When it was finally time for her release party at Oblong Books, it was a very surreal moment, and I told her as much when it came time for her to sign my copy of her book. I was so happy for her because honestly it couldn’t have happened to a sweeter person. Kim is so warm, and welcoming, and simply loves to share her love for reading and writing with anyone who cares to listen. I’m so glad to know her, and now that I’ve read her book I may like her even more.

Touching The Surface honestly blew me away. At first I didn’t really know what to expect of it, or really how to take it because there were quite a few twists and turns. But once everything started gelling together, I was literally like “AHH! Must. Read More.” I had to know what happened to each of the characters, and I wanted to know where each of them wound up. I found myself connected to them in ways that I didn’t really expect. At I sit here typing up this review, I find myself truly reflecting on the beauty of the world that Kimberly Sabatini created. Her take on the afterlife is so beautiful. Her version is called the Obmil, and it is a truly magical place. I loved the concept of being able to delve into past memories in order to figure out who you are or why you are in the current state of the afterlife which you are in. Also, the way that an individual could control the scenery of their own personal afterlife was pretty cool as well.

Touching The Surface Kimberly Sabatini Book Cover

Touching The Surface

As for the characters, I adored them. I felt such a heartfelt connection to all of them. I wanted them to solve their personal “mysteries” from their past lives, and be able to move onto what was next for them. Their issues were so realistic such as fighting with family, fighting with friends, falling in love, heartbreak, and loss. I was able to connect with them, and understand them as they were busy trying to understand themselves and the crazy unique situation which they had found themselves in.  I loved how all four of the main characters (Elliot, Oliver, Trevor, and Julia) were somehow inexplicably connected, and they had to go on this journey together in order to figure out how they were connected, and ultimately how to save their souls so that they can leave Obmil afterlife.

Touching the Surface alternates between the Obmil and flashbacks to the characters’ memories of their previous lives. I thought that this type of storytelling brought so much depth to the book. It allowed me as the reader to be able to begin to not only understand the connections between the characters but also feel the emotions of the characters, and understand why they are the way that they are. This is especially true with the characters of Elliot and Trevor. Elliot wants more than anything to be able to move on but she cannot seem to figure out exactly what she has to do in order to accomplish that, and now that she has returned to the Obmil for the third time, she knows she has to figure out the truth but, she’s scared. It also doesn’t help that dark and broody Trevor is practically breathing down her neck every time she turns around. The connection between those two characters is intense, and the tension and connection between them definitely kept me tuning pages!

Kimberly Sabatini Reading

Kimberly Sabatini reading from Touching the Surface at her launch party at Oblong Books

This book really is a thing of lyrical beauty. Kimberly Sabatini tells the story of these lost souls with compassion and understanding and she makes rooting for them easy. I wanted to see them succeed more than anything. Admittedly, I was concerned as to how she would wrap everything up when all the stories were so intimately connected but, I have to say she did a wonderful job. I never anticipated anything because she always kept me on my toes and honestly, I am grateful for that, and I was also grateful to see that everything was wrapped up as nicely and neatly as possibly.

Basically, what I am trying to say here (in an entirely non-bias opinion, I swear) is that you need to go check out Touching the Surface. If the gorgeous cover alone doesn’t draw you in, the story definitely will. It encourages you to delve beyond the surface, and to confront the truth in things even if it scares you. Seriously, this is one debut novel that is so worth reading, and I cannot wait to see what Kimberly Sabatini has up her sleeve for us next.

Disclosure: Purchased copy from Oblong Books

Other reviews of Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini:

The Artsy  Reader Girl: “Touching the Surface is a beautiful story that readers of all genres will be able to relate to and pull from…

The Book Cellar: “Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini was one of the most touching, beautiful books I have ever had the chance to read…

Hobbitsies: “It was hard for me to let go of the characters in Touching the Surface…

A Reader of Fictions: “Kimberly Sabatini’s debut blew me away…



I have a signed copy of Touching the Surface that I purchased at Kim’s launch party at Oblong Books. Want to win it? ENTER HERE: US Only.

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Allison is 27 years old. She is always looking for new books, good music, quality/epic adventures, and a normal sleep schedule. She currently works with the elderly.


  1. You got to meet Em from Loves YA Lit – yay!

    And I have never heard of this or the author but I love the cover and it sounds fantastic, Allison

  2. I am totally wearing that same shirt today as in the picture, ha ha.

  3. Hey! That’s me! And you! And April! And Kim! YAY!

    I still need to read Touching the Surface. So glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

    We’re so lucky to have such an enthusiastic, supportive, and fun YA author in the HVYAS!

  4. What a great review of Kim’s book! I was so thrilled to finally meet Kim IRL last weekend and she’s just as warm, sweet and funny as she is in the virtual world. I’d love to win a copy!

    Hmm….the memory I’d most like to delve into might be my 6th/7th grade years. They were intensely painful and filled with bullying and loneliness that I can barely remember (probably because they were so awful). But I think that period of middle school truly shaped me in a way that no other period in my life has, and it would be fascinating to explore them again, from an adult perspective, since these themes factor so strongly into my writing.

    Thanks again for the giveaway opportunity!

  5. I was pleased to meet Kimberly at BEA last year, and she’s such a sweetheart. I haven’t read her book yet, but I certainly hope I get the chance to do so soon! You make it sound incredible.

  6. I think I’d like to take a close look at my early childhood. I don’t remember much of it and I’d like to know more about those days. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Yay! I’m so happy that you loved this. I did too, just bunches. There haven’t been nearly enough gushy reviews for this book. Trevor = love. Also, I am so glad that Oliver was just a friend and not a love triangle. How often does that happen? Straight guy bff with no romantic tension? Gah!

    Also, I felt so dumb when someone pointed out obmil was limbo backwards. So clever!

  8. thanks for the fun post! I think I’d like to see myself as a baby 🙂

  9. Any memory before 4th grade. I got a serious concussion at the start of 4th grade so maybe if that had not have happened I would remember more things from when I was younger, who knows?

  10. I tried to read this a whole ago (checked it out from the library), but it was hard for me to connect. And to know that the MC used to be a lot of different people — only the most recently a YA age group, whereas others were older men/women (if I’m remembering right) — made it hard for me to figure out the MC. Obmil was really interesting and the writing was wonderful, but I didn’t finish the book before I had to return it.

    This review makes me think I made a big mistake by doing that! I’ll have to either go get a copy or re-check it out and finish reading the story. Honestly, I think that the reason I haven’t gone back was because I am scared to see how it will end. I got to the first delving scene and started to think ‘uh-oh’. Great review and thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  11. Wow, I clearly need to read Touching the Surface. It sounds amazing, and kind of intense. That’s great that you got to know the author, and see the ARC early on.

    Thanks for the review.

  12. Probably when I was 4 or 5. I don’t remember much.