Title: Turn the World Upside Down
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: 20th oct, 2016
Genre(s): Mental Depression, Healing
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 2 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.
“Turn the World Upside Down” is an extremely difficult and emotional book to read. It’s about a group of teenagers suffering from various mental problems and trying to cope, with support from one another. Hunter is the teenager through whose POV we get the story. After a tragic and life-altering incident in his family, Hunter is admitted at “Better Days”. What we get is a heart breaking as well as a healing story about the trying circumstances that brings the kids to Better Days and their struggle to accept life and move on.
This book is about those kids who may not have been the direct victim of a tragedy but who get affected just as badly. Hunter’s little sister is the victim in the story and the culprit is a family member whom Hunter has loved and respected. So in the aftermath, Hunter is left with a completely shredded heart and an endless pit of anger towards himself for not being able to put a stop to it. He feels guilty for not protecting his sister and letting her down when the foul crime had been going on under his nose for years. He is angry at the world, at his shit of a father and especially at himself.
Hunter’s entire family is devastated and his mother and sister are suffering in their own way whereas Hunter expresses his anger and suffering through violence. When he hits a teacher at school, his mom has no choice but to get him the help he so badly requires.
Hunter feels abandoned when he gets left behind at the facility. He is angry at his mom but also understands the pain which she herself is going through. We can clearly see the depth of hurt the tragic incident has left on him and his family.
At Better Days Hunter meets other kids who are all suffering from their own problems. Hunter makes friends and after he learns the root behind their sufferings, he even believes that his problems are really insignificant compared to the others. He helps them out and protects them from the bullies in the facility. The tentative friendship among Hunter and his friends grows as he learns to deal with his problems and try to help out his friends struggling with their own.
We get the entire story in Hunter’s POV and through bits and pieces we learn about his friends and their problems. Everyone had problems born out of different circumstances but trying and difficult nonetheless. They form an unlikely group and become close-knit and protective and loving of each other.
All of the characters were innocent, heartbreakingly beautiful and tragic figures with a wide range of issues ailing them. Among the five the story of Rosie, the always cheerful and bold girl, is the most tragic. I could not stop crying at the end when she gets crushed under the weight of her problems. All the others did not quite heal completely but Hunter and Stray’s romance gives them the strength to look forward to a new future together.
This book is not primarily a romance but the sweet and budding romance was like the first step in the healing process for both Hunter and Stray. Stray’s insecurities with his foster parents are shown to be on the mend, whereas Hunter finally accepts that it was not his fault that his sister got abused.
This story is not something you can expect an HEA from at the end. The ending is a promise that the Hunter and Stray are on the right track towards their recovery but they still have a long way to go to completely move on. This book has a lot of triggers and it is dark and depressing but it was touching and powerful too. I would recommend this book for those who can handle raw honesty and brutal truth and simply not just looking for an HEA.
I would like to applaud the author for writing such a powerful and emotional story. You will be helping a lot of people in coping with their problems and relate with their depression in a very moving way. I recommended this book to a friend who is suffering from a depressing episode herself and hopefully it will help her too. Thank You, Ms. Dawn for writing such a touching and a heartbreakingly beautiful story. KUDOS!!!