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Downside Up by Richard Scrimger

Downside Up

by Richard Scrimger

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Downside Up, in many ways, reminded me of Coraline (the film, I've never read the book *hides from Neil Gaiman fans* ) in which she travels to a version of her world where many of the faces are the same but the personalities are different. That being said, this book is still unique on its very own. Scrimger tastefully discusses a difficult subject with such respect for his readers, that alone deserves praise. While this book is written for middle grade audiences, its core message can resonate well with readers of all ages. Great book, would love to see this turned into an animated/stop-motion film! Many thanks to LibraryThing and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to review a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  RJGonzales | May 2, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A clever book that successfully makes you believe that there is a parallel universe that can be found if you venture into Toronto’s sewer network. The main character is a boy who is unable to cope with the loss of his dog. As the story unfolds, the reader finds there is much more than the loss of a dog that this grade 6 student is contending with.
The story is part fantasy and adventure but the nature of mourning a loss of a loved one is all too realistic.
It is also great to read a good story set in a Canadian city! ( )
  jwyss | Dec 22, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Interesting plot (parallel worlds) with a twist. ( )
  kimpiddington | Oct 6, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Downside Up was a very enjoyable read! Once I started reading, I didn't want to stop.
The narrator of the story is Fred, a 12 year old boy who had recently lost his dog. He is very depressed and he is having a heard time dealing with his death (readers discover that there is much more to his depression as the story unfolds). He stumbles upon a parallel world...a world that is nearly exactly the same as his own but one in which his dog is still alive.
The author does a good job with a difficult subject. As the story progresses, Fred learns that no one is ever really gone as long as they are remembered.
I would recommend this book for (at least) twelve and up. It is a complicated story that younger readers may not be able to grasp. Also, there are a few instances of mild language (dammit). ( )
  cyndiea | Oct 4, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In Downside Up, author Richard Scrimger seeks to answer a question at the heart of the human condition: Can love be lost and, if lost, can it be found again? Downside Up follows the adventures of Fred, a sixth-grader haunted by the death of his beloved dog, Casey, when he accidentally falls into another world. This world appears to be an exact copy of his own—same school, same family, same home, even same him—except in this world the losses troubling Fred have never occurred and Casey is still alive. When Fred’s sister eventually finds her way into this alternate reality as well, they must decide, together, if it is truly better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Fred is a relatable and interesting character, who serves the story well as the narrator and the author does an excellent job of using dialogue styles to distinguish between Fred and his alternate reality self, Freddie. The twists, turns, and reveals throughout are poignant and keep the plot brisk and exciting, even if you have picked-up on the clues and have a sense of where the story is headed. The more fantastical elements that appear as the story progresses are balanced and grounded by the steady exploration of Fred’s emotions and grieving process. Scrimger also uses foreshadowing and meta-commentary on story structure to good effect. There are a few characters who seem superfluous, but, overall, the style is very in-step with the themes of the story, the characters are likable, and the story is touching.

Young readers will find a kindred spirit in Fred, will appreciate the imaginative magical realism, and, hopefully, will come away with the understanding that healing from loss is possible, though the road there may be long and winding.. and just might have a few dragons on it.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for my honest review of it. ( )
  SaraNoH | Sep 29, 2016 |
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Fred is a sixth-grader reeling from the loss of his beloved dog, Casey. Every day he walks home from school bouncing Casey's old worn-out tennis ball. One day, the ball falls down a sewer grate, and Fred can't bear to leave it down there. He pries open the grate and stumbles down. Through the sewer, Fred enters a parallel universe: Casey is alive, his mom and sister are happier, and there's a version of Fred who's happier too. Spending time with Casey, Fred feels joy for the first time since his dog's death, but he slowly realizes that the loss of Casey is masking an even greater loss: the death of Fred's father. Fred brings his sister, Izzy, to this upside-down world of lost things in the hope of finding their father and bringing him back. Can everything that is lost be found again?… (more)

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