Title: Turn the World Upside Down
Author: Nyrae Down
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: October 20, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Gay, Young Adult
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Ana
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
They’d have to turn the whole world upside down to understand us…
Hunter Donovan’s temper never used to be a problem. He lived the perfect life with the perfect family before the dark truth came spilling out. Now his dad’s in prison, and after Hunter explodes at school, accidentally hitting a teacher, his mom has him committed.
Hunter doesn’t belong at Better Days. He needs to be stronger, not sent to a well-dressed loony bin. If he’d been better, less selfish, he would have realized something was going on under his own roof. No amount of psychoanalyzing and group therapy can change the past.
But among the bullies, fights, and bad cafeteria food, Hunter meets a group of friends: anxiety-ridden Casey, wild and exciting Rosie, recovering bulimic Bethany, and Stray, a self-harmer who doesn’t think he belongs anywhere. Around this group of misfits, Hunter doesn’t feel so alone and angry anymore.
Still, as he’s making friends and falling in love with Stray, the guilt is always there. If Hunter can’t open up and find a way to deal with what happened, he might fall victim to his mental illness—and he won’t be the only casualty.
This was such a beautiful book, I enjoyed so much the amazing characters and lovely interactions they had. I don’t read too much YA, but this one was really good.
The writing is great, the plot and pacing are also very good. But the part that I loved the most was the ability the author had to show mental illness and its treatment so accurately. It was great to see how honest it was in matters of improvement expectations for each of the characters presented.
I also love every single one of the characters, from the main ones to the ones that had only few moments on page, everyone had an interesting story to tell or were part of something important, even the antagonists had something interesting about them.
Hunter was a nice main character, the story is told from his point of view and it was so easy to feel empathy for the whole situation he and his family are living. His feelings were very realistic and illustrate nicely the physical and emotional path that someone goes while losing control, it was great.
Stray was my favorite character, he was such a sweet guy, it was impossible for me not to love him, the slow and lovely way his relationship with Hunter start growing was beautiful. His ups and downs were very enlightening on how mood swings can be present in some people struggling with issues like ha was.
Rosie, Bethany and Casey were very likable characters, trying to understand each of them was a nice task. All of them had and interesting and bittersweet story to tell. The antagonist and other supporting characters were also great. Meeting the families was a nice touch and a great way to understand where some of the conflicts might come from, for some of the kids.
I think it was a great book, I would recommend it to any reader, especially the ones who are interested in know a little about mental illness and who enjoy reading YA. There were some possible triggers among them mention of abuse, self-harm and violence, so beware before reading.