Above - Isla Morley

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Imagine you're a teenage girl who's kidnapped by a crazy doomsday prepper and held in a converted missile silo for 17 years.  Now imagine you escape with your son who was born in captivity, only to find out that the doomsday prepper's crazy rantings about the end of the world were right - that the world as you knew it had ended while he held you captive underground.

Above takes the premise of books like Room and The Lovely Bones and adds the twist that the kidnapper ended up being right about the collapse of the world as we know it.  I don't think that twist attempts to paint him in a sympathetic light, as other reviewers have said, but adds complexity to the story and Blythe's feelings.  She endured a horrific situation, and it was only by chance that Dobbs' paranoid rantings were right.  He's still a monster for what he did to Blythe, Charlie and Adam, but the character would have been flat without the complexity that this twist and

the fact that he desperately tried to save Charlie's life when he got sick

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introduced.

This was a really fast read.  The author does a good job of building tension while Blythe and Adam are being held by Dobbs, which makes it hard to stop reading.  What didn't work as well were the scenes after their escape.  At first, the tension continued to build - what kind of crazy world was this? - but it seemed to fizzle when they ended up in the Sunflower facility.  Things weren't really fleshed out with regard to what the powers that be were doing or what their goals were.  I would have liked to know more about that, to know more about why Blythe and Adam needed to leave with Marcus and why they'd track Adam, only to give up so easily.  I also wished the issue of Blythe's family had been handled differently. 

I liked the scene where Arlo showed her the register listing her siblings deaths in the early days of the radiation disaster, and that Dobbs recorded Freedom's death.  It's very effective in showing her loss and giving her hope, since her parents aren't listed and may still be alive.  It also reinforces that Dobbs saved Blythe's life when he kidnapped her, without excusing what he did.  She's alive, but at a horrible cost.

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  This made the ending seem a little abrupt.  Blythe gets some closure and reunites with some friends, but there are definitely loose threads left hanging and I'm not sure how to feel about that.

Overall, it was a very good book and an interesting take on novels dealing with kidnapping survivors.