ARC Review: But Not Up Here – RoAnna Sylver

But Not Up Here
Book cover: a dripping moon on a purple-clouded background.

Words about love, loss, grief, PTSD, and jokes with no punchline.

Steps toward finding yourself and singing down the stars.

RoAnna Sylver asked if some bloggers would be interested in reviewing her poetry collection. Since I am a fan of her Chameleon Moon series (here’s my review for book 1), I decided to request the arc.

This book is a collection of the thoughts and musings of a grieving person. It’s told in non-rhyming verse. The writing style is rather unusual for verse stories, as the lines are much longer than what I would have expected in a verse novel. However, it still manages to convey the emotions onto the reader in the same manner. Several phrases are visualised differently, either in italics, in bold or put in brackets, which led me to think more about these words, thus I felt like I gained more understanding for the situation in which the narrator is.

The metaphors and comparisons are very beautiful and strong, conveying the different emotions that the person has. There were 5 numbered sections, which are titled after the 5 main stages of grief (i.e. denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and several other poems inserted either between these sections or after them. This was an intriguing way of visualising the grief that the narrator is going through.

The poem that I found most beautiful was You can find anything on the internet these days, even yourself. The creative and different approach to the wolf and sheep comparison was amazing, and I liked how the words played with this comparison. I am surrounded by a few people who look down on online friendships and online communication, so this was a very affirming poem. I feel like this is the one poem that will remain in my thoughts for quite some time.

Bonus points for using the word ‘petrichor’ as this is one of my favourite smells and words.

Reading this collection felt like I was reading a very personal diary, filled with thoughts that the character who has lost someone, is keeping to themselves. It’s a short read but I thought it was quite beautiful and it’ll give you a lot to think about.

Content warnings: processing loss, PTSD, recovery.

4 stars

Would you be interested in reading But Not Up Here?

6 thoughts on “ARC Review: But Not Up Here – RoAnna Sylver

  1. That cover! XD I’m a big fan of moons 🙂 (yes, I know that sounds a little odd, but the Welsh goddess Rhiannon is goddess of the moon, and my bird pic is an Adaryn Rhiannon – one of her birds, so I kind of have a thing about her in general. Lol.)


    1. Very different from Chameleon Moon! It’s a lot more emotional and felt very real. Once you read it, I’d love to talk about which poem you liked best.

      By the way, The Lifeline Signal is even better than Chameleon Moon in my opinion. Book 2! It was so amazing! There is such a cool card game comparison about aromanticsm, asexuality and questioning – the rest of the book is also good, but this scene!!! ❤


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