Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1711
Just too Weird for Me
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Plot 
 
2.0
Characters 
 
1.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
What on this crazy, polluted planet did I just read? Seriously, I just finished reading this and I have no freaking clue. If this book were a person, it would likely end up in a straitjacket, trapped in the sorts of institutions many of its characters have been at one point or another. Mix together One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Dust Girl, and I think you've got something that roughly approximates Above.

The world depicted herein does have interesting features. For example, there are people with powers, like Jack and his lightning hands. Others are part animal, like Matthew and his scales. Some of these Freaks, those that aren't normal, have formed a community, hidden beneath the earth in tunnels, safe from the doctors and the institutions. They call their community Safe, and Atticus is their leader.

This basic premise could have made an outstanding book, but it didn't. The lack of explanation caused me to get stuck in questioning mode, unable to suspend disbelief. So far as I noticed, there was never once any sort of description of HOW society came to be this way. People don't just suddenly get born with lion feet for no reason. I'm not even asking for much. Just give me something! Really, I would have been a bit more positive towards the book had their been just a sentence telling me that these changes were the result of drugs, chemicals in the food, pollution, SOMETHING.

The character of Ariel, pictured on the book's cover, proved to be another insurmountable obstacle for me as a reader. While I can easily accept some of the curses (or so they call them) that the people of Safe possess, like wielding lightning or speaking with ghosts, I had major difficulty with the animal hybrids. Still, I could accept to some degree at least Atticus' claw hands and Matthew's dad's lion feet. Fine. Ariel, though, I could not fathom. You see, she is not precisely as pictured. She looks completely normal sometimes, entirely human. However, she can TURN INTO A BEE. Her ability differs from everyone else's greatly, and I couldn't deal with the whole conservation of matter issues. Sure, I've read books where I wasn't bothered by things like that (Harry Potter, for example), but this aspect just seemed out of place within Bobet's own world. Why was Ariel so unique?

Matthew is a meh main character, which is unfortunate, especially considering that I still found him to be the most interesting character. Everyone feels flat and I don't get a sense of any real emotion anywhere, even in the scenes that I know were meant to be gut-wrenching. Perhaps this stems from the way Bobet chose to tell the story, as Matthew's autobiography, thus creating a sense of removal from those moments?

Matthew has a momentous crush on Ariel, although it's never put into those terms. I will give the romance credit for not being remotely like any other YA romances. However, that does not make me ship them any more. Again, it's hard to root for them when I have no sense of who they really are. Ariel, especially, does not seem to much care for anyone and would probably be best off alone.

The writing teetered on the edge of dialect but, except for one brief section, remained normal enough that I didn't want to stab my eyes out with one of my stiletto heels. Her long (mostly about forty pages) chapters made my eyes cross. I was constantly flipping ahead to see how many pages of the chapter remained, and the answer was usually too many. Additionally, I did not care for the Tales told at the end of each chapter, a brief story of how some of the key characters came to be in Safe. The characters chosen seemed entirely arbitrary, with some important ones having been skipped and some we never even meet getting a section. Many of these didn't add to the book for me at all. I feel like it would have been stronger to integrate them into the rest of the text.

There were some ideas in Above that I really liked, some shining possibility from amidst the weirdness. I really wish that Bobet hadn't made this a paranormal. As an issues book set in a dystopian future with a crackdown on crazy people (like The Glimpse), this could have been so powerful. The paranormal elements detracted from the serious themes, like the abuse Ariel has suffered and the inhumane treatments perpetrated by the Whitecoats.

About all I can say having finished Above is that I didn't completely hate it. However, I have so little positive to say that I cannot even rate it a meh. Some readers surely exist who can appreciate Bobet's vision, but I am not that reader.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

City of Spells (Into the Crooked Place, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
City of Spells, the follow-up to Alexandra Christo's gritty YA...
Christmas Parade
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
A delightful Christmas board book filled with hilarious characters and...
Best Friend in the Whole World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Roland lives a quiet life filled with books, music, and...
Bird Show
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Award-winning author-illustrator Susan Stockdale welcomes you to the Bird Show,...
Down Comes the Night
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw...
My Book of Feelings (My World)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Inspired by the Montessori method of education this unique board...
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery...
My High School Rebel Boyfriend
 
3.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
He’s a rebel with a cause… to make my...
The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel comes...
Dark Stars
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dorothy finds herself completely alone. Roman is dead. The...
Follow Your Arrow
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, this...
Daughter of Darkness
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
She is destined to kill a demon. He is...
The Smile Shop
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Critically-acclaimed author-illustrator Satoshi Kitamura (Hat Tricks) celebrates the value of...
Stanley's Lunch Box
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everyone’s favorite hard-working hamster Stanley introduces young readers to a...
What Are Unicorns Made Of?
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Have you ever wondered what unicorns are made of? Are...
Grandfather Bowhead, Tell Me a Story
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Richly illustrated and lovingly told, this book is a warm...

Latest Member Reviews

Once Upon a Space-Time (#1)
 
4.0
"There are human kids who are studying at the Earth School for Space Mission Preparation in the year 2216. They..."
No Adults Allowed (Super Sidekicks #1)
 
4.0
"It's hard work being a super hero, but it's even harder work when you are the side kick to an..."
The Amazing Beef Squad: Never Say Die!
 
5.0
"Of COURSE, Stupidball games always end badly, but this doesn't stop friends Hogue, Jared, Pratchett and our narrator Nick Rhodes..."
Charlie Thorne and the Lost City (Charlie Thorne #2)
 
5.0
"After her adventures in Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation, Charlie is hiding out in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador,..."
Confessions of a Class Clown
 
5.0
"Jack Reynolds is the sort of kid that teachers put in the back of the classroom-- surrounded by all of..."
Stick Dog Crashes a Party (#8)
 
4.5
"Stick Dog and his friends are hungry. After a hilarious episode with a ketchup packet, they decide to go and..."
Stick Dog Slurps Spaghetti (#6)
 
4.5
"These books appeal to everyone from strong emergent readers and stressed middle schoolers to librarians who have a secret desire..."
Stick Dog (Stick Dog #1)
 
4.5
"Stick Dog lives under a bridge and is quite happy there. He hangs out with his dog friends, Mutt, Poo-poo..."
Stick Dog Takes Out Sushi (#11)
 
5.0
"The dogs are hungry, but trying to distract themselves with naps. This doesn't work, and when Mutt shakes some out..."
Heroes Level Up (Homerooms & Hall Passes #2)
 
5.0
"Albiorix and his crew are having a great time being back in Bríandalör, successfully completing a lot of quests, but..."
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
"RONAN BOYLE AND THE SWAMP OF CERTAIN DEATH is a comedic middle grade fantasy that features a young boy on..."
The Pros of Cons
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: I genuinely can't imagine four different events happening simultaneously in the same complex, but it happens..."
Bad Brows
 
4.0
"BAD BROWS is a humorous picture book that follows Bernard when he wakes up for a day with brows that..."
Stick Dog Meets His Match (#10)
 
5.0
"As the soft, fragrant warmth of spring strips the chill from Stick Dog's world, he and his friends approach the..."
Frankenstein Doesn't Wear Earmuffs!
 
4.0
"This Halloween season, it is very cold, but Frankenstein still wants to participate in the Halloween festivities. However, his parents..."
My Calamity Jane
 
5.0
"What worked: This is a fun paranormal twist on historical figures set in the Wild West of 1876. I loved..."
My Weird School Special: We’re Red, Weird, and Blue! What Can We Do?
 
5.0
"It's February, which A.J. considers to be the worst month of all. It's hard to spell, teachers want to celebrate..."
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
 
5.0
"FEEDBACK I honestly don’t even know where to start. Originally I read this book because I got an advanced..."
The Bad Guys in the Baddest Day Ever (The Bad Guys #10)
 
4.5
"Snake is dead, and the Bad Guys, as well as the League of Heroes, are gathered for the funeral. Faced..."
Pig the Tourist
 
5.0
"PIG THE TOURIST features our beloved pug named Pig while he goes on vacation. The only thing is that he..."