Read Downside Up by Richard Scrimger Online


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 haFred 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?...

Title : Downside Up
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781770498440
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Downside Up Reviews

  • Taylor Berman
    2019-05-20 07:07

    This book is beautiful and heartbreaking and had me in tears a few times. Also, there are dragons, so that's pretty awesome. I don't know what else to say other than you should definitely read this book.

  • Laura
    2019-05-24 10:45

    I was going to talk about death and dying in children's lit, here, but that would make you all roll your eyes and not bother with this cleaver, well written story of a boy, Freddie, dealing with loss. The book begins with his dog dying. Or rather, I should say, his dog is already dead when the story begins.He has kept his ball. The ball he would chew on, and that is all he has to hang on to in his grief. And then he loses it down a storm grate.And then, and then, he finds a world where his dog exists.Well, what would you do, if you found a world, almost exactly like yours, with your dog alive? Well that is what Freddie does, he keeps going back.I love Freddie's voice:I was so amazed, I couldn't move or speak. Couldn't think. It was like meeting the what's-their-names in the Greek myths, the ones who turn you to stone. You know who I mean.This is a cute, fast, well written read. Freddie is mourning, and needs help getting over it. But it is more than just the dog. There is something, which I figured out about half way through, but that didn't lessen this story of loss.Recommend this to children to help deal with any sort of loss and the grief that follows. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  • Lynn
    2019-05-21 04:59

    I almost put the book down after a few chapters, thinking it would be another wild fantasy story, but then it took a turn and I started identifying with Fred. I noticed that the father was missing, and surmised it was the basis of the mother's sadness, fatigue, and her need to work. I didn't dwell on it as so many families have an absent parent so it caught me off guard when his absence became the central point of the story in a very powerful way.I thought the siblings were pretty typical - arguing about meaningless things, but pulling together for the important stuff. I also liked how everything Fred experienced connected to something from his past - both recent and from early childhood. Tidbits of wisdom sprinkled naturally throughout, such as: "Sharing a memory makes the feeling stronger.""Why do people ask questions like that? What if this or that happens or this other thing doesn't happen? You can always think of ways to go wrong. If life was easy, everybody would be healthy, full and rich. And smiling more."""There's lots we can't control," I said. "Bad things happen. Accidents, luck, whatever--these things are not our decision. But we can decide what we DO about the bad luck, about the accidents.""I look forward to recommending this to my students.

  • Reese Quival
    2019-05-22 10:43

    This was a really good book about dealing with heartbreak and loss. I enjoyed it very much, but found that most of the book felt like "fluff" to me. Especially the beginning. I didn't feel the need to make the book as long as it was, granted, there were little hints and clues in some of the "fluff" parts. This is the reason that this is 3 stars, and not 4 or 5. (Sorry, but I don't really like fluff :/ )I think that a new world where everything turns out ok is a really weird topic to think about. It really got me questioning about the book, and I think that the whole idea of the dragons, which are totally imaginative and mystical creatures, turned into something so ordinary. The idea of the dragons symbolizing something so ordinary, yet so… powerful blew my mind. Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy deep, meaningful reads. And who are not afraid to try something new.

  • Raymond Nakamura
    2019-05-03 05:58

    A strange, intriguing premise for exploring grief

  • Robin
    2019-04-25 05:02

    When we first meet Toronto sixth-grader Fred, he seems to be having trouble getting over the sadness of losing his beloved dog Casey. But then a chance bounce of Casey's favorite tennis ball leads Fred down a storm sewer and into an upside-down, parallel world where Casey still lives - and there are other differences, big and small. For example, his other self - known as Freddie - seems happier and more talkative, as does the upside-down version of Fred's mother. Fred keeps going back to visit, to spend time with Casey, and to have fun with Freddie, but gradually he begins to feel something is not right - something inside himself.In the pivotal scene of this book, a local author comes to Fred's school to give a talk about how to write stories. When he uses Fred's dog as an example of how to plan a sad story - like about a beloved dog being hit by a car - Fred gut-punches him and gets suspended from school. I'm not sure about the significance of the point the author-within-the-book was trying to make; there may be some irony involved, as in his claim that the story should begin while the dog is still alive (whereas Casey's death is already a fact in Fred's life when this book opens). But Fred definitely misses the point of why he punched the writer, as we learn later on. This is a very unusual but effective story. On one layer, it is about one boy (and later, we learn, others) exploring a weird, slightly magical world that apparently exists to give grieving people one more chance to see the loved one they have lost. On another level, it plays as an allegory about the nature of grieving itself. It literally features a psychotherapist trying to help a kid face the problems that triggered his depression. But it also visits a place that poses a different way of looking at loss, one that eventually proves therapeutic for Fred and his sister Izzy, if not for some readers who share their journey. The Downside Up world may not be the only approach, or even necessarily the best, to opening up a heart blocked by sorrow. But I can imagine some counselors sharing this book with their clients, perhaps with therapeutic results. Beside that intriguing thought, I noticed a beautiful and distinctive writing style, full of unique expressive touches and yet direct enough to connect with young readers. The book is cleverly structured to begin in the midst of things, relaying information to the reader just when it is needed, but with each surprise designed to remind you of a detail you may have missed earlier. The expected never happens. All the characters are believably imperfect, yet one's heart goes out to them. Overall, it is an emotionally gripping, sweetly hurting story that guides Fred to the turning point of his grieving process and leaves him there, right where he needs to be. The pacing, plotting, and diction are all good. But what it has above all is heart.Canadian author Richard Scrimger has published several other novels for boys, including the "Nose" trilogy (starting with The Nose from Jupiter), its companion book The Boy from Earth, Of Mice and Nutcrackers, Me & Death, Zomboy and Lucky Jonah. Their subjects include body-swapping, accepting undead classmates, exploring the afterlife, surviving family dramas, and navigating strange urban landscapes. Their online description gives an impression of a solid body of work that specializes in using young readers' imaginations to fuel a journey through issues that will touch their heart and affect their character.This book is scheduled for U.S. release Sept. 13, 2016. This review is based on a pre-publication proof on Kindle, made possible through Netgalley dot com.

  • Kathleen Bergen
    2019-05-17 04:10

    Sweet story, interesting twist. A good meditation on death and loss, but in a way that's not too heavy. Good characters.

  • Pammycats
    2019-04-28 05:05

    Downside UpBy: Richard ScrimgerI received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.Magical realism which is perfect for children trying to cope with loss of some sort.:The story is about a young boy (Fred) who discovers a alternate world where people are happier and where lost people/ animals/ things exist. At first, the world seems perfect. Fred finds his alternate (Freddy) who is just subtly different. Freddy is happy and talks a lot. The mom and sister (Izzy) in this world are also more relaxed and happy. The best part is that his dog is alive. At first, being in this world and playing with his dog makes him so happy. However, he starts to find himself feeling sad and angry again. Fred is dissatisfied with his life (in both worlds) and can't figure out why. Now, some reviewers have insisted that they didn't see this next plot point arriving but Amazon includes this reveal in their book description so I was waiting for it to appear. Fred's dad died in an accident. All throughout the book, we see Fred mourning his dog. 2/3rds of the way through we find he has blocked out all memory of his dad including his sudden death. Eventually, with the help of his sister and an unusual babysitter, he finds their father in the upside down world and keeps him from dying in a fiery car crash. In the alternate world, people don't have remains, they are carried off by dragons to a volcano when it is "their time". I know, dragons are a reality shift from the rest of the book but this all makes sense at the end. Keep reading!At the end of the book, Fred and Izzy realize they have saved their father because they remember him. As long as they hold onto his memory, their Dad will really be alive (and not taken away by a dragon). This is rather deep thinking for a child but, like books written by C.S. Lewis, it is presented in a simple form and uses magic and animals as a route to comprehension. In the last section, brother and sister (who have been in conflict all throughout the book) reconnect in a really beautiful way. The last chapter shows them finally mourning and coming to grips with the loss of their Dad. Spectacularly sensitive and nuanced writing. I loved that part.Conclusion:I highly recommend this book for any child about 10 and up. I don't think younger kids would be able to comprehend the ending and there are some incredibly sad moments. Mourning the death of a loved one (or any loss) can be a long process and this book takes the reader on part of this journey with Fred and Izzy.

  • Rachel Foley
    2019-04-25 05:12

    "I don't know how you can hold both ideas at once - real and not real - but I did."I got a copy of this book for early review. The description caught my eye and I was expecting something absolutely amazing. This book was not bad, but it wasn't my favorite. Overall, I really loved the story. It was cute and creative and enjoyable. It was a fun, light, quick read. It also portrayed emotions really well. "Have you ever been sad? So sad you didn't want to talk to anyone. Or eat? Or get out of bed? That's how sad I was.""'It's as if a dead tree has fallen across the road,' he said. 'You've got to get around it before you can continue your journey.'""If you're scared or mad, you can pretend - sometimes. But if you're happy, everyone knows."I really loved the concept of a parallel world in which the things that people miss most still exist. I thought that was brilliant and executed quite amazingly. And using an object that is connected to whatever is missing as the key to the other world is a very creative idea. However, it was the dragon thing that threw me off. Up until the dragons showed up, I was completely wrapped up in the book. But "Dragon Mountain" really confused me and I just wasn't into it. Everything (except for the parallel universe, but that was mentioned in the synopsis and was written very well) was going on like the real world... and then there were dragons. The concept of having dragons come sweep you off your feet and drop you into the mouth of a volcano when "the time comes" is an interesting idea, but I really just didn't like it. Overall, I did enjoy the book. There were many parts that made me laugh ("I got up on the right side of the world this morning."), and it was altogether enjoyable. This is definitely a good book to read if you are in a reading slump or just want a light, fast-paced book.

  • Jackie
    2019-05-07 08:43

    Fred, a sixth grader, is despondent after losing his beloved dog, Casey. His mother is worried since he never smiles, is listless, and is only going through the most elemental functions of life. He sees Dr. Nussbaum and talks of Casey, but never mentions his father who died in a horrific highway accident. Missing Casey, he never is without Casey's favorite toy, a fuzz-less tennis ball. One day, the unthinkable happens and while bouncing the ball, it falls into a sewer. He climbs down into the sewer to retrieve it and falls into a parallel universe where things are the same, but different. Here, Downside, he finds his parallel family...Freddie, sister Izzy, mom AND Casey. He begins to see joy again in life. He finds he is able to cross over between the two worlds with relative ease. But, things get complicated when the worlds collide and Izzy wants to find what she misses most...their dad. Downside Up is ethereal and hazy in a 'is-it-really-happening?' way. Wanting something so badly, knowing it can never be, makes the heart wish harder. For Fred, though, his alternate world is cathartic and he finds a way to move past his grief. Downside Up is a tween novel rich with food-for-thought...a magical realism that takes us all way beyond our comfort zone to a place where wishes become reality and reality becomes easier to accept, and thus move on to living life. Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers, Tundra Books, and Richard Scrimger for this ARC.

  • Kkharvey
    2019-05-20 08:43

    4.2 starsFred is in six grade and is still reeling from the loss of his dog Casey. One day, as he is walking home from school, and he loses his ball under a sewer grate. What he finds going after it is an alternate world, where his dog is very much alive.One thing I loved about this book is the setting. It takes place in Toronto, and considering I’m familiar with the area myself, the street names, place descriptions really resonated with me. It was almost like following him on a path.The mirrored version that Fred meets of himself, and the mirrored world was also quite well done. I’m sure everyone has wondered what it might be like to find an alternate world, with an alternate you. It becomes clear that the differences between the two boys have quite important implications on how our lives are lived once tragedy enters.I’m always scared of reading books when there’s a loss of a dog involved, but that is my personal bias entering the picture. This bookThe fantastical elements within the piece took a bit of an adjustment for me to get used to, but it added to the whimsical nature of Scrimger’s writing which I enjoy. I look forward to reading a lot more from him in the future.Recommendations: All ages, it’s the kind of book that is quick to read, and that most of us can relate to in one way or another.

  • Kate
    2019-05-05 10:44

    I didn't realize this book was set in Toronto but on the first page there's a mention of Sorauren Park and I was jazzed - I love reading books set in my city!I really liked the way Scrimger tackled the grief of Fred and his family. We see them in the background mostly, because Fred's grief is really self-centered, but it's clear to the reader that there's more to the situation than we're getting. I often wanted Fred to stop staring at his shoes and look at his mom and sister, because there's definitely something else important there. Fred was a really relatable character for me, not necessarily because I've had the same experiences as him or even because our reactions are the same, but because his reactions seemed real.The upside down world was a really great way to explore grief. I love the magic realism take on it, though the dragon part felt like it got away from Scrimger a bit. The point was a bit spelled out at the end and I felt that dragons were a bit much. Other than that, I liked this book a lot.I also really love the cover - Matt Forsythe does beautiful work. I'll have to see what other books he's illustrated for!

  • Sarah
    2019-05-01 05:46

    I received a free copy of Downside Up from the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!If there's one thing I've learned in my 10+ years of being a Richard Scrimger fan, it's to expect the unexpected. Whether it's an alien from Jupiter who drinks hot chocolate and loves k d lang or how astoundingly relevant and realistic a book about a zombie in school is... There's always a moment in Scrimger's books that I never see coming, that makes my jaw drop.So, Downside Up. I went into that book knowing it would surprise me. And it sure did -- more than I thought. This is a zany book about parallel universes that also happens to be a serious look at working through grief. This is a book that made me cry more than I expected it would. This is a book that contains more dragons than I ever would have imagined.Beautifully-written, funny, sad. If someone asks for a good middle grade book, Richard Scrimger's books are first on my list to recommend. And Downside Up cemented that even further.

  • Heather Brown
    2019-05-22 12:00

    In Downside Up, Fred finds the things that he misses in his life. Fred has been down for a while, but in this other world that he has found, his dog is still alive, and everyone seems happier. His mom laughs, his sister Izzy is happy with her boyfriend Handsome Harry, and the other Freddie is confident with tons of friends. Simply visiting this other version starts making changes in Fred's life. Fred is happier after playing with his dog, he starts talking with more of his classmates, and he has a head start on the water cycle project since Freddie already did his report. But maybe something more is missing--Why is Fred's mom so stressed when Freddie's makes jokes? Why is Fred's sister so grumpy and mean while Freddie's is headed to the Homecoming dance?This is a great book, especially for kids having trouble expressing their feelings and how they change.

  • Monika
    2019-04-27 05:48

    In a story about dealing with the loss of a loved one, Fred finds a mysterious portal that leads him to an upside down world where the people (and pets!) that have disappeared in his exist. I loved the way the story explored Fred's emotions and I think that it is an important one for children to read. However, I found the dialogue incredibly drawn out and annoying. Could I imagine a talkative 11-year-old talking the way Freddie did? Yes. Are said 11-year-olds annoying irl? YES. Also, the concept about the dragons was an interesting one but it was fleshed out in an unrealistic way. Maybe it was supposed to recreate the nonsensical feeling of being in a dream but it just disrupted the narrative and made the book tedious to get through. At the end of the day, I know that the story will appeal to children so it gets the job done but I don't think I'll be wanting to read it again.

  • Cee
    2019-04-28 04:09

    Downside Up references great literature by having Fred "go down the rabbit hole" through a sewage drain and ends up in an alternate world where he finds another version of his family much like Neil Gaiman's Coraline. Fred is grieving the death of his beloved dog Casey, and the act of visiting his alternate family where Casey is still alive allows him to find happiness again. Although in a surprise twist, other memories begin to resurface. The novel has Scrimger's signature uniqueness with the addition of dragons as a kind of stork for the dead which add whimsy and charm. Highly recommended for middle grade readers who are dealing with loss and grief.

  • Maureen
    2019-05-03 10:52

    It was an alright story. While I see the value in writing a story about how a boy,deals with the death of his dog, I found I couldn't get really get into,the story. Granted it's written for tweens, it wasn't a story for me. It was fairly predictable. 3 stars because it was imaginative.

  • Barbra
    2019-05-14 10:07

    Just when Fred can't take the loss of his dog anymore, he stumbles upon an upside down world. It's parallel world with him and his family and his beloved dog. I love the conversational feel to the text, and the unique premise.

  • Kim Piddington
    2019-05-08 05:06

    Interesting plot (parallel worlds) with a twist.