Touching the Surface was one of my most anticipated books of 2012, and within the first few pages, I was psyched for this story. I love afterlife novels like Dean Winchester loves pie. With a lush, ephemeral setting that was described so vividly, and characters that felt real to me immediately, it was impossible not to fall for Touching the Surface. By the end, I was genuinely moved by this wonderful novel about letting go of the past, in order to hold on to something new.
I loved the setting; the Obmil is a fantastic, ethereal place. I was confused at first, because Sabatini's afterlife is complex, and it took me a few chapters to really "get" everything - the levels, the rules. Once that happened, I could appreciate the world-building, which was actually very well done. I loved that Kimberly used the "Delves," or flashbacks as a plot device to get me invested in who these characters were...characters I very quickly grew to love.
I always enjoy character growth, and that was present in Touching the Surface. Elliot changed so much from who she was when she arrived in the Obmil; I loved seeing her shed her selfishness and grow into a person who cared about others, and understood the impact of her actions in their lives. This is a very character-driven strory, and I found myself connecting deeply to Elliot, Julia, Trevor, Owen, and even Mel. Everyone added a bit to the overall message of Touching the Surface, and I liked how unexpectedly various characters ended up tangled in Elliot's life.
Along with the mysteries of the afterlife, and several things that weren't what I thought them to be, I also fell hard for Trevor. At first, I was prepared to hate him for his reactions to Elliot, but there was a reason, and I am so, so glad I stuck with Kimberly's story, and got to know both Trevor, and Oliver. These two boys play a huge part in Elliot's life, in different ways; there's no love triangle here, but there - is - a meaningful love story that blooms sweetly, slowly encompassing Elliot and Trevor.
Touching the Surface is a story that lingered with me. I found myself shedding a few tears as the climax swelled toward an ending that was more of a beginning. Even now, days later, I'm still thinking of this beautiful story, and I urge everyone to read it!