[review] Above by Leah Bobet

Teller lives in Safe with his adoptive family, those who have been rejected by the Above. But when a long kept secret comes back, it could destroy his Sanctuary and kill everyone he loves.


This book contained many elements that I normally would not enjoy. I’m not a big urban fantasy fan (I mean, there are plenty of urban fantasy series I enjoy, but it’s not my go to genre). I generally don’t enjoy male narrators or narrators that speak less than perfect English. And I like to be able to relate to the characters through shared experiences. But somehow, this book managed to suck me in completely and sucker punch me in the end, making me see stars.

The narration style took some getting used to, but it quickly became one of my favourite elements of the story. Teller’s way of speaking opens a window into his head. Despite living a very different life from him, I felt I could understand him. Teller doesn’t always make the right choice, but he makes the human choice. The characters in this story aren’t perfect people: they are very real people.

The book also hits on a lot of different themes, darker things that most people (including myself most days) would prefer to ignore. Homelessness. The treatment of those with mental illness, both past and present. Sexuality. How Native Americans are treated in Canada in the past and present. It wasn’t always a comfortable read, but it was a good one.

Besides, that last line through me for a loop. I love it when your entire perspective of a book can be changed all at once. I’ve had it happen to me before upon reading sequels, like The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood and The Last Envelope by Maureen Johnson and The Prince’s Tale chapter in Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. It’s the kind of thing that if you were to reread the book, suddenly it’s like reading a totally different story. The last line changed everything and left me with an ache in my heart where I wish a sequel (or maybe a prequel?) could be.

Books with similar aspects

Tithe by Holly Black

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

The Summer King by O.R. Melling

(note, these are all faery urban fantasy books, but Above is NOT a faery book)

recommended to Canadians and fans of urban fantasy

not recommended to those who can’t handle reading about violence or traumatic events

Don’t just take my word for it!

” Above is smart, well written and provides a captivating look at some of our societies most marginalized.” – Christa @ Hooked on Books

 Did I miss your review? Link me and I’ll add yours! Add me on goodreads (be sure to let me know in the comments that you’ve added me) to have your reviews linked automatically.

About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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7 Responses to [review] Above by Leah Bobet

  1. LOVED this book! I’m sad that I haven’t updated my reviews on Goodreads in awhile so you couldn’t quote me. Like you said, this book really hits some on some tough issues and a really respected/appreciated that

    • megtao says:

      I usually check people who I follow on goodreads blogs, but I saw that it had been read so recently I thought you might not have gotten around to reviewing it yet! (Plus it’s not linked on your review list). Found it though, so I’ll add it now 🙂

  2. Heidi says:

    I’m excited to see that you enjoyed this one, as it’s one I’ve been wanting to check out myself. I’m probably more of an UF fan than yourself, which helps, but I’m surprised/impressed that this book deals with the deep hard issues that you mentioned. I’m especially interested in reading what it has to say about Native Americans in Canada, as this was a subject I spent a good chunk of time studying in undergrad (I was an anthro major). Thanks for the review!

    • megtao says:

      The Native American topic isn’t a HUGE point in the book, but there’s a couple paragraphs devoted to it, and considering the topic is usually ignored, especially in YA lit, I was really impressed.

  3. Samantha says:

    Thanks for the review Meg. I’ve been umming and ahhing about whether to add this to my TBR list, but I definitely will now. 😀

  4. This sounds intriguing and the cover is gorgeous. I generally don’t gravitate towards books with darker themes, BUT I do like books that make me think and change my views on things. I’ll have to check this out 🙂

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