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Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere

by Julie T. Lamana

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3662363,067 (4.2)23
At the end of August 2005, ten-year-old Armani is looking forward to her birthday party in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where she and her extended family live, but Hurricane Katrina is on the way, bringing destruction and tragedy in its wake.

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The most notable event on Armani’s horizon is her tenth birthday party, which is only a few days away. But as a swelling hurricane approaches her hometown of New Orleans, the birthday celebration begins to get overshadowed by a sense of unease, then panic, then desperation.

Over the course of a few short days, Hurricane Katrina redefines what it means to Armani to turn ten years old. Instead of parties and presents, she is swept up in a whirlwind of tragedy and fear that seems too much for a kid. And instead of just getting one year older, she has to grow up all at once.

If you like drama, intensity, honesty, and improbable courage, you’ll want to read about Armani and her family’s Hurricane Katrina experience. ( )
  rhowens | Nov 26, 2019 |
Armani Curtis has one thing on her mind...celebrating her 10th birthday in a big way. But, when one of our country's costliest and biggest disasters strikes on her birthday, staying alive and keeping her family close becomes the most important thing on the family's mind. the state of Louisiana advised residents to evacuate the Ninth Ward in hopes that the storm will take another course. Armani's father chose to ride it out. After all they'd been through hurricanes before. Hurricane Katrina had her eyes set on New Orleans.

As waters rise quickly, Armani's family, her parents, Memaw, and siblings Georgie, Sealy, and the twins, struggle to find a temporary relief and refuge on the roof of their now-floating home. They pull down the attic stairs and gather in the hot cramped space. Her dear, beloved Memaw, dies in her sleep due to the stress of the dire situation. Cricket, the puppy that Armani received as a birthday gift falls off the roof and into the raging and filthy waters. Her brother Georgie, feeling responsible for the puppy's jumping, dives in after him, and Armani's dad follows after. They quickly disappear into the raging , fast flowing water.

Devastated with worry about them, Armani and the rest of the family struggle to escape the fierce waters as they rely on the kindness of strangers and military personnel to get them to dry ground. Dry ground conditions are deplorable and they are strongly advised the Super Bowl is a place of danger for children. One of the twins becomes dangerously sick, so now Armani's mother has to leave 10-year-old Armani to care and protect her younger siblings. The family is now horribly torn apart. Frightened beyond belief and worried about her parents and siblings, Armani puts on a brave face, but must once again rely on the kindness of caring people to help her navigate the uncertainty.

This story is a realistic account of the of horrible events of one of the most tragic disasters this country has ever known. In August of 2005, we all watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina battered and destroyed life as the people in New Orleans once knew, and forever changed the people, landscape, of a nation.
( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
The Curtis family's story of trying to live through Hurricane Katrina. Armani is the main character. The family is separated during the storm. Too late to evacuate, they have to try to survive. Family members disappear and die in the home. The group is separated and has medical needs when arriving near the dangerous Super Dome. Soon it is just Armani trying to fend for her two younger sisters.
Sparse, powerful prose. ( )
  ewyatt | Jan 20, 2016 |
The year Katrina happened the people of the United States seemed to hold its breathe. People stared at their television screens in horror and fascination as pictures of looters and rioters monopolized the sets. Newscasters focused on shopping carts filled with Nike shoes pushed by local thugs, while amused viewers pointed out the foolishness of the situation. Few stations showed the true devastation that many families felt during this time. Broadcasters seemed to dwell on the rapes and murders in the dome, rather than covering the families that were coming together. Picture after picture displayed the water logged dead bodies in the road or the broken down homes of yesterday. This book is about a girl named Armani and her family that battled their way through the hurricane Katrina. They both lived and died during this brutal storm, but demonstrated a tremendous amount of courage and strength. Unlike the news that most people were forced to see, this book was a story about one girl’s personal experience with Katrina.

I really enjoyed this book and loved how the author created each character. I remember when Katrina occurred and all of the devastation was happening. It was a horrible time, but being in California it felt so far away. This book really made the storm come alive for me. I was born in North Carolina and raised in the south most of my young adult life. I have been out west for about 17 year now, so it felt real good reading about Armani’s family. I loved her grandma and I have to admit that I cried at some parts. (I don’t ever admit this, but I just have to for this book) The author did a great job with everything! I honestly have to recommend this to all of my homeschool families and special needs families! This book is that great. Even though I won it in a goodreads giveaway, I could see me picking this book up for my kids. I want to thank both goodreads and the author for allowing me to review this book. It was awesome! I plan on going to the school library and asking them to add the book and I think this book should be added as an option for the curriculum. I think it would be great for a book report as well. Just some thoughts for the homeschoolers or teachers out there. ( )
  Jennifer35k | Jun 25, 2015 |
The best young reader book I have read in years. Tells the story of Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath and the impact it has on a family. I read this book in one sitting; couldn't put it down. For any young reader who is looking for well written realistic fiction, this is the book. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Apr 24, 2015 |
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At the end of August 2005, ten-year-old Armani is looking forward to her birthday party in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where she and her extended family live, but Hurricane Katrina is on the way, bringing destruction and tragedy in its wake.

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