Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: When The World Turned Upside Down
Author: K. Ibura
Book Series: Standalone
Diversity: Various races are mentioned, but nothing exact is specifically mentioned. There is one disabled character, a character with depression, and a non-binary character in the book as well.
Recommended For…: middle grade readers, children’s readers, contemporary, realistic fiction
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Genre: MG Contemporary
Recommended Age: 10+ (COVID, panic attack, parents fighting, depression, animal starving, police brutality, systematic racism, gore)
Explanation of CWs: COVID, police brutality, and systematic racism are discussed and/or shown in the book as they’re the background of the book. There is a panic attack shown in the book. There is depression shown in the book. There are a couple of scenes where some parents are shown fighting. There is one scene where an animal is shown starving (but it is alright and saved). There is also one scene with some slight gore.
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Synopsis: Nobody expected a tiny little virus to change the whole world in such a big way, especially not Shayla, Liam, Ai, and Ben. But when school closes to keep everyone safe, their lives turn upside down. It is one thing to learn that the outside world isn’t safe, but why does it seem that the virus is causing trouble inside their homes too? As they each struggle to adjust to life in quarantine, they discover they are not alone: their apartment building is full of people who need their help. Working together, they begin to see that there is power in numbers. When they cooperate, they can ease each other’s challenges and help their neighbors through tough times. It’s a lesson they’ll need when protests explode in the streets. Soon, each friend has to decide what it means to be part of a community—and how much they’re willing to do to make this world safer for everyone.
Review: I really loved this book! The book did so well to show the scariness of the beginning of the pandemic but in a kid friendly manner. The book did well to discuss accurate COVID information (a valuable asset in today’s society) and how scary the sickness can look like. The book also went into detail about the BLM protests and what happened with not only George Floyd but numerous other people who lost their lives due to police brutality. The book showed rioting, but informed it in a manner that it is “…the language of the unheard” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and showed police brutality in the midst of even peaceful protests as well. I absolutely adore this book and its brutal honesty because children are smarter than a lot of people give them credit for and they can understand these bigger topics if you just explain it to them in terms they can understand, such as this excellent book does. I thought the book was extremely well written and the characters sounded their age and were developed well. The world building was great as well.
The only issue I had with the book is that the pacing was a bit too fast for me (but it would be perfect for a child I think!) and the book does randomly change POVs throughout the chapters, so it sometimes gets a little confusing to follow who we’re following at times.
Verdict: I highly recommend this one!