Title: Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Author: Julie Lamana
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April 8, 2014*
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17815784-upside-down-in-the-middle-of-nowhere
In a nutshell: It's the end August 2005, and Armani is turning ten years old - a landmark birthday that she is tickled pink about. She can't stop thinking about every little detail of her party, but her plans are interrupted when one of the most devastating hurricanes in history comes barreling through her Ninth Ward home, uprooting her family and testing her mettle. Armani must fight for hope in this touching novel about family, bravery, and love.
I'd recommend it to grades: 5 to 8
I'd recommend it to: anyone who liked Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes, anyone who's experienced a natural disaster, and readers who enjoy heroic female main characters
What I like most about this book: I have to be honest; I have a soft spot for Katrina survival books since I lived in South Louisiana at that time, and this one is the best one I've read since the aforementioned Ninth Ward. The
narration of 10-year-old Armani is honest, brave, and funny (at times),
and the setting is completely realistic and captures the terror, chaos,
tension, despair, and hope of post-Katrina New Orleans. I was moved in
more ways than one. You'll need a box of tissues for this one. Don't say I didn't warn you. :)
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): I really don't want to give away too much, but there's a scene at the Superdome where you truly see what little Armani is made of, and it's one that equally heartbreaking and empowering.
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): Absolutely 5 stars. I know it's only February, but this may very well end up in my top 10 for 2014.
*I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss.