REVIEW: Up Here by Jim Shomos

Published: 15th September 2020

Publisher: Self Published

Pages: 262

Format: Ebook (ARC supplied by the author, all thoughts and opinions are my own)

RRP: $4.99 (ebook)

4.5/5 Stars

When you’ve had two dream marriages, choosing your eternal soulmate in heaven, is one hell of a dilemma.

Can you have more than one soulmate at the same time?
After two blissful marriages are cut short by tragic circumstances, Peter’s own early entry to heaven fills him with skepticism. Peter soon faces an impossible choice: with both wives Up Here, which woman is his eternal soulmate?

Christina and Jane have their own issues to resolve, especially considering they were best friends.

From two marriages made in heaven, all three now have one hell of a dilemma. And with Peter’s mother Up Here, too … well, she’s got her opinion!

The debut novel from Australian film & TV pioneer Jim Shomos. Up Here is a unique love-triangle featuring two dynamic women and one ro-man-tic; it’s a feel-good exploration of a modern romantic dilemma that asks the age-old question: what if?

If I had to describe Up Here by Jim Shomos in one word, it could be any of the following:

Quirky.  Debut. Original. Australian Unique. Lovely. Creative. Lively. Utopian. Family. Self-discovery. Loving.  Encouraging. Strength. Courage. Passion. Creative. Touching.  Enlighting. Inspirational. Encompassing. Welcoming. Compassionate. Brave. Inclusive. Grieving. Second-chances. Wholesome. Romantic. Freeing. Atmospheric. Humorous.

It’s a story that captivated my heart and soul.

Up Here is  Shomos’ debut novel. It’s a one-of-a-kind novel that shouldn’t work, but somehow it masterfully does. It’s heart-wrenching, soul-searching, and it will leave you racing through all 262 pages eager to know more.

Dying was more complicated than he’d ever imagine. So much for ‘Rest in Peace’.

Up Here is an ambitious novel, but one with such a big pay off.  Shomos’ world-building of Up Here, the ultimate Heaven was so atmospheric and fantastic. I loved the Australian setting for our characters hail from Melbourne, Australia and thus it reasons their ‘heaven’ will replicate this. I could easily envision their surroundings and felt almost like I was on a ‘holiday of sorts’ with these characters. I was at the markets, and sitting alongside the river, and go-karting at Sennasation (Christina’s go-karting track). It was all so vivid, and such a unique reading experience for me personally during these troubling COVID times where state borders are locked down tight, and the world isn’t quite what we’re used to.

It’s easier to love someone in your imagination. Reality is hard. And eternity is a long reality.

The character’s themselves are lively and so human as they transverse the complicated web of emotions and ego Up Here is subjecting them too. With the worldly ideal of forever with your one true soulmate, our love triangle is subjected to the entire sevens stages of grief as they mourn what they ‘had’ and grapple with their ‘new’ reality. Because of this the narrative twists and turns, navigating its way through humour and light-hearted moments, to instances equally filled with rage, jealousy, hopelessness and love. Just like the characters themselves, your emotions as a reader are twisted, manipulated and heightened to the tenth degree as you make your way through the narrative.

Although I picked the ‘soulmate’ early on, I can still remember feeling the clutch of emotion deep in my chest as decisions were made, and the consequences faced. Gah, it was just a rollercoaster of a ride that was so magical and perfect. The end result was a story that felt just, complete and like it couldn’t have gone any other way.  I want to stress here, that although it is emotionally heavy, this narrative remains happy, upbeat and full of hope for the future. It’s a rom-com with so much heart and soul to give its reader.  It took me by surprise and just didn’t let me go.

Given all of the above, I wanted desperately to give this book five stars, but on reflection, I had to be brutally honest with myself and deduct a half star. When the narrative opened I struggled to find a way into the story. To connect with Shomos’ writing and his characters. I’m being extremely picky here, but I found the writing style jarring and over-written when we are first introduced to Peter and Jane while they are still alive. I couldn’t connect to them, or the lives. At first, I thought this was most likely because my personal life has been a bit of mess lately, so I wondered initially if perhaps this book wasn’t for me? Or possibly even, not for me right now? In hindsight,  I think it’s probably got a lot more to do with the fact that I knew from the synopsis that these characters were going to die … and I didn’t want to feel their pain or be devastated by that. I wasn’t prepared or ready to feel that kind of emotion so I withheld myself.

However, when the narrative hit roughly the 15% mark and Peter had reached Up Here, the writing and indeed my entire relationship with the narrative changed. I was quickly sucker-punched by emotion and crashed headfirst into the story. From there on out, I raced through the pages desperate to know what was happening and who Peter’s soul mate would end up being.

All of this is to say, if you are like me and you struggled with the first part of the book, I beg you to persist. The narrative will pull the carpet from beneath your feet in next to no time and you will be on the ride of your life as you race alongside Peter, Jane,  and Christina on a journey of self-discovery (both theirs and your own), love and the afterlife.

I highly recommend this book.

To learn more about Jim Shomos, visit the following social media pages:

Jim Shomos’ Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram 

 

To purchase a copy of UP HERE, visit the following online retailers:

Amazon AUS | Angus & Robertson | Apple Books AUS | Barnes & Noble | Booktopia | Book Depository | Chapters-Indigo | Google Play | kobo |

 

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