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Turn the World Upside Down Kindle Edition
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|Length: 208 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Each character had a different problem, which I could believe and each took time to open up and some dealt with things better than others. I felt for them all, for differing reasons and could empathise with them, though I'm likely old enough to be at least ten years older than these guys' parents/responsible adults.
I was very glad that Hunter found his way to Better Days, that he matured there, learned to open up, learned to understand that two wrongs don't make a right, learned to listen and to make sense, despite the confused messages that his mind was giving him, and that he found the courage to open up and speak out when something bad happened, rather than following the unit's residents' unspoken Omerta-like rule. I think that he grew up in there, going from a not unreasonably - at his young age and given his experience - slightly Me, Me, Me type, to a guy who'd endured, who'd been hurt by someone he should have been able to trust without reservation, but who hadn't been irretrievably broken; one who was able to find his worth and to make positive steps for his future life. That he found happiness with Stray/Jeremiah, was sweet, but not the focus of the tale.
ARC courtesy of Harmony Ink Press for my reading pleasure.
Yes, I cried, but I also laughed. I morned the downs and I cheered the ups. I was there, right along with the characters in this book. I love a well written coming of age story and Nyrae is so good at it. This is the kind of book that will break your heart and put it back together, stronger than ever. Buy it! Read it! Love it! Recommend it to your friends!
Young adult age-range: 14+ due to bullying/violence, abusive subject matter, mental illness and the effects, and kissing.
Turn the World Upside Down was a difficult book to read, as well as review. The dark subject matter was handled with compassion and from a different point-of-view meant to open minds and widen perceptions. I applaud the author for tackling such subject matter in the manner in which it was handled.
When bad things happen in a family to a singular person by another family member, usually everyone rallies around the victim, leaving the rest of the family to be in the supportive role. But, the problem with this, while the victim needs the attention and compassion, the entire family was the victim as well, leaving other siblings in the dark- forgotten.
Turn the World Upside Down was the voice of those usually forgotten in the shuffle- not the direct victim, but still someone affected by the events, but nonetheless forgotten. I appreciate this differing viewpoint, and it was refreshing to read how the author enlightened readers on how this devastates an entire family, each member in a different way.
Hunter is the older brother of a little sister who was abused. He feels responsible because he was the brother, and it's his job to take care of his sister. He feels responsible for not hearing his sister when she asked for his attention as a buffer, even if the only way to interpret her words were afterward because Hunter was not a mind-reader. His guilt is eating him alive because he loved the abuser- idolized him -instead of seeing what was subtly hiding beneath the surface. The truth.
Angry at the world, but mostly himself due to misplaced guilt, Hunter rages, unable to release the tension on the only person it belongs. I understood Hunter, because I, too, don't believe in burdening others with my feelings, as their feelings are more important and I feel my emotions are private- none of their business unless I feel like sharing.
This rage built until Hunter could no longer contain it, causing his mother to send him to a camp for children with mental illness. Not only is he raging, he feels abandoned, but also understands how his behavior is taking away from the attention his sister needs. But Hunter needs attention too, because he's hurting in a different way.
On the pages of the novel, the reader is taken on a 6-week journey as Hunter comes to terms with his emotions, learning he has no fault in what happened, and makes friends with other teens who are struggling.
Even with his new friends, Hunter feels as if he needs help the least, worrying about their issues more than his own, in a place where the teens all have an equal voice and need for help.
The difficulty with the novel is the tough subject matter involving not only Hunter's past and present, but the friends he makes. All have tragic mental illnesses. I couldn't help but feel that the last thing these kids needed to be around are more tragedies they would internalize and devour as if it were their own pain- it didn't feel healthy to me that Hunter would have to be in a place to heal with other children who were hellbent on making his wounds worse, while he dealt with everyone else's issues instead of his own.
While I understood the why of it, and applaud the author for showing this side, the entire situation didn't feel healthy to me. Forging connections and helping one another is fantastic, knowing you're not alone with your mental illness is a comfort, but making and losing friends due to their mental illness, while their illness writes its signature on you psyche is not healthy, especially with the bullying behind the scenes by other teens. Hunter shouldn't have had to deal with everyone's issues when he should have been dealing with his own, compounded by the devastation of losing new friends and being bullied/beaten, all of which were new stressers added on top of 'his' issues. It felt worse, not better.
It just felt as if the child didn't have the fortitude and family Hunter had, they didn't have a snowball's chance of healing due to the influences and pressures from the people in the very place they were placed in order to heal. Counterproductive, trying to find positivity in a negative environment.
The saying 'misery loves company' doesn't mean they ban together and find happiness- it means they dwell together in their misery, making it worse. I understand it, appreciate the angle the author provided, but I don't believe this type of environment is healthy for anyone- anywhere, even if it's reality for so many.
All of the characters were compelling, heart-breaking, and innocent in their mental illness, yet also manipulative and toxic as they tried to keep their issues alive. The friendships forged were inspiring, yet sometimes enabling and destructive to one another. The romantic relationship between Hunter and Stray was innocent and sweet, filled with hope for the future for those who made an attempt at getting better.
All-in-all, Nyrae Dawn created a novel which will make the reader think for a long time after they finish the book, but I can't say I 'enjoyed' it.
I do recommend it to those who won't be triggered by the subject matter, and to those in the right emotional mindset to tackle the story. However, I don't think it's a book for everyone- not that any book truly is. I particularly recommend to those who need the comfort of knowing others are going through similar situations they may be in, and to see a differing viewpoint via the victim who wasn't the direct victim of the assailant.
Hunter had a voice, and I'm glad I got to hear it.
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