Feb. 29th, 2012

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Books 2012: 29

29. Leah Bobet, Above. Arthur A. Levine, 2012. Advance Reader Copy courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] leahbobet.

On the face of it, this should not have been a book for me. (Much as I love you, Leah.) The blurb makes me want to hug myself small and run far away, because I do not like depictions of mental illness. And I do not really like the dark, either.

But I have been reading Above slowly for the last couple of weeks - actually, that's a lie: I was reading the first two chapters of Above slowly, and over and over again, because they needed more mental capability than I have had - and today I sat down to finish it.

The first chapter made me edgy and uncomfortable. So did the second. But by the time I got into the third chapter, I was coming around to the conclusion that this might be a book for me after all.

And it is. It really is. I can't even talk about it properly right now, because I make flaily motions and inarticulate noises and what is it with characters named Matthew ripping the heart into pieces in my chest and putting it back together different?

The language is oddly beautiful, the story has a strange shape but the right amount of tension, it's graceful and painful and right and true and [livejournal.com profile] leahbobet sticks a pretty tough dismount.

There are some flaws. When I have more distance I might even look at them straight on. But seriously, people? This is a book that should be making award shortlists - ναὶ μὰ Δία, at the very least. If it doesn't it'll be because people haven't been paying attention. Not because it doesn't deserve it.

NB: This is not a review. More professional review hopefully forthcoming elsewhere later this year. This is a dazed and incoherent first reaction accompanied by post-funding-application fugue, caffeine, and beer. The beer approves this message: Lovely brilliant book. Go read. ASAP.

At Tor.com, Elizabeth Moon's 'Echoes of Betrayal'.


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