author : isla morley
pages : [hardcover] 384
favorite character : adam
I am a secret no one is able to tell.
Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an abandoned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Determined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give meaning to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promising and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.
I was first interested in this book because I heard it compared to Room, which I absolutely loved even though books like this are very hard to read. Room, however, started after a girl has been kidnapped and held captive for several years, while Above takes the reader through every awful step of the crime. You learn how Blythe was tricked, her reaction to her situation, her loss of hope. I have to admit that it was so devastating to read about-perhaps written so well-that I almost didn’t finish this book. I felt so sad for Blythe and from reading the summary of this book, knew she might not get the opportunity to escape her captor for years. Years. I can’t even imagine what something like that is like and don’t really want to, which is why this book was so hard to get through.
Yet it adds another interesting, terrible element on top of that because while Blythe is captive, the apocalypse occurs. Or call it whatever you will, but nothing is quite like the world as she remembered it. Though it was an interesting twist on the kidnapping story, this is where I began to get frustrated. I don’t think that the author gave herself enough time to explore her ideas thoroughly because this is a stand-alone book and most of it occurs within a confined setting, not in the outside world she is attempting to construct. By the time I felt like I had a good grip on what was happening in the world and what Blythe might do, the book was over.
I don’t think I could say I enjoyed reading this book because of all of the horrible things that happened within it, though I do think it was an interesting read. Would I recommend it? Maybe, if you’re not likely to be disturbed by the beginning. There were some fairly creepy parts in the last half of the book, though they didn’t bother me as much as Dobbs, her captor, did. Perhaps it’s easier to read about futuristic devastation than kidnapping that could happen here and now.
I do think that this book was written well though it could have been executed in a better way. I’d certainly pick up something else written by Isla Morley.
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