Review of the Week

Upside downLamana, Julie T. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere. Chronicle, 2014. 320p. $16.99. 978-1-4521-2456-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-8.

Armani Curtis is living in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward as her tenth birthday and Hurricane Katrina approach at the same time. Her family does not realize the problem, and it is too late. They are unable to evacuate in time, and the family experiences the full brunt and horror of the storm and its aftermath. Lamana’s very realistic and heart-wrenching writing presents well-developed characters, setting, and a story which could go any direction—especially if the reader is unfamiliar with the devastating effects of the 2005 disaster. Multiple family members are lost, people are separated, and the very real fear Armani experiences stays in the reader’s memory long after the story ends. This complex and realistic account of the tragedy will inspire questions and, possibly, the fear that it could happen to any reader. Review based on an ARC.

Joshua Rees, Daly City PL

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