Thursday, 15 May 2014

Above by Isla Morley

Sixteen year old schoolgirl Blythe should never have left the county fair. Abandoned by her schoolyard crush, she sets off for home alone and is offered a ride by her school librarian. 

Angry and upset, she doesn't think as she gets into his car. He abducts her and hides her away in an abandoned silo. Her captor, Dobbs, is a survivalist and convinced that the end of the world is coming. 

Throughout her incarceration, he makes frequent trips to the above world, gathering supplies in preparation for the apocalypse. Blythe, confined underground, is trapped in not only the madness of her keeper, but her own wild thoughts bough on by loneliness and fear. 

Forced to bring up a child in her captivity, she almost becomes resigned to a life below, but a major twist in events will see her life and that of her precious child turned upside down forever. 

This book was a slow burner, but I think it needs to be to set the scenes and tone of the book. You definitely get a good portrayal of Blythe. She often reminisces about her family and her life before she was taken, and the reader is privy to her private thoughts and feelings during her time in the silo. The suspense slowly builds up, and the second half of the book really picks up, hooking you in and keeping you gripped right thorough to the end. 

This is a dark tale; the impending end of the world prophesised by a madman and the strength of a young girl turned woman, alone in the dark. Blythe seems to age doubly during her time in the silo, and it is a heart wrenching transformation to witness through reader eyes. 

Her story is heartbreaking and powerful, but I also loved the tale of her son Adam, who sees the world through the eyes of someone who has never experienced anything real in their whole life. This book grabbed me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it long after I read it. 

Above is an evocative tale of opposites; courage and weakness, condemnation and forgiveness, above and below. Hauntingly brilliant, this is a screen adaptation waiting to happen. 

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