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Book Review: When the World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura

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The ‘Great COVID 2020 Quarantine’ threw a lot into chaos for not only adults but for kids too!  This uncertain time is the subject of When the World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura and the story is told through the lens of a group of tweens who bond together to help their community. Read on for a book review of When the World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura.

When the World Turned Upside Down book review

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Friends Shayla and Ai are at a crossroads in their friendship.  Things have gotten tense between the two with Shayla longing to be apart of another clique and Ai not sure of what she did to end up in an argument with Shayla.  And what’s worse is the two can’t exactly avoid each other, they live in the same building.  Also in the building are their friends Ben and Liam.  Ben’s parents fight incessantly and Liam suffers from panic attacks.  The the four friends are sent home from school die to COVID everything is up in the air.  

Naturally the kids feel helpless when they see what’s happening in the building and neighborhood.  Despite the strife in their friendships, the four kids decide to make a difference by helping their neighbors.  It’s starts with an older neighbor who gets sick with Covid.  After heading to the hospital, Ai drops off the neighbor’s dog Daisy to be taken care of by Shayla.  The friends make flyers to distribute to their building for anyone needing help with groceries, errands or cleaning.  When George Floyd is murdered the friends also turn to Shayla’s father Mr. Kwame for guidance on how to work through their feelings around police violence.

Author K. Ibura doesn’t shy away from the tough subjects in this charming fiction book.  She masterfully weaves in how the COVID pandemic makes hard situations even tougher with mentions of Mrs. Utari’s debilitating depression, Ben’s parents dealing with the extra stress by fighting with each other, and Liam’s panic attacks that get worse when the quarantine begins.  Even though it was just a fictional slice of life in an urban apartment building, and I found myself wincing when Liam’s mom describes Mr. Floyd being murdered because I remember the first time I saw it on television and how disgusted and angry it made me feel.

Despite still being in a pandemic and now COVID variants wrecking havoc, When the World Turned Upside Down is pertinent reading for any young person who wants some inspiration on how they can turn stressful situations into helpful ones.

Rating 4/5 stars

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