This Above All by Lindsey Roth Culli

“When sixteen-year old Piper is cast as Romeo in her school’s production, she’s as surprised as everyone else. Not only because she’s a girl, but also because she’s from one of the region’s most notorious ultraconservative families.

But when the school principal demands that the part be recast “appropriately” or the show cannot go on, Piper faces a choice: become the figurehead to appeal the principal’s decision or accept the message the administration’s ultimatum sends to the school’s gay students, including her new friends. Namely, that they should be ashamed of who they are or whom they happen to love.

Pitched as Dirty Dancing meets Saved!, when the daughter of one of the region’s most notorious ultraconservative families is cast as Romeo in her school production, drama is sure to follow.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! This was another one of those e-ARCs I had lying around from last year, and I finally got to it!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Favorite Character: Tony

Spoiler Free: Looking back, I’m not 100% what made me request this book from NetGalley, since it’s not the type of story I usually enjoy, but I’m really glad I did.

I was originally quite put off by our narrator, Piper, because her ideologies are so much different from mine. At certain points in the beginning of the story, it was actually quite hard to read her opinions on certain people and things. But as Piper started questioning herself and beliefs, and warming up to the idea of diversity, I started warming up to her!

While I can’t say I liked every part of the plot, and certain parts of the ending really got on my nerves, it overall was a really nice story. One of the first things I noticed when reading was how natural/realistic the writing felt, and how it seemed to fit Piper perfectly. It probably is what helped me warm up to Piper as fast as I did!

In the end, I highly recommend this story. It’s not a book that’s supposed to push forward religious teachings, but rather provides another viewpoint, and seems to promote a general idea of questioning what we’re taught about other people, and taking the time to learn and understand people who are different from us.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

Spoilers: My main thoughts here will be on the ending, both the good and the bad parts.

First, the good! I’m super happy this wasn’t some miracle ending. While yes they pulled off the show, they were the ones who still had to find another venue since the school decision was not overturned. Additionally, one fancy speech on Piper’s end did not change her family’s minds, as they are still set in the same beliefs, although maybe less rigidly. I also really liked that Piper didn’t give up the religious part of herself, since that seems to be a very important part of her, and is instead exploring other, more accepting, avenues!

What I didn’t like is how the romance was pulled off at the end. While the way Dylan “lost” his girlfriend at the end kinda worked, the fact he was such an ass to her and then suddenly it was okay was just terrible. Actually, how the entire Tony x Piper rumor went down was just horrible. All of her friends ditched her because of it, even though they knew what sort of person she was, and that she would never do that. Even when confronted, with Piper explaining the situation (and not outing Tony, since she’s actually a decent person), they still chose to believe the rumors started by someone who openly hates Piper. I was totally okay with the best friend and Dylan up until this point, and I don’t agree with how that part was resolved at the end.

But all in all, this was a really surprising read in that I loved it way more than I expected to!

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One thought on “This Above All by Lindsey Roth Culli

  1. Woah, I haven’t heard of this one before but it sounds super compelling. Definitely gonna check it out now. Thanks for the super thorough review–it sounds like it’s not a perfect book but definitely a fascinating one.

    Like

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