Downside Up
by Scrimger, Richard

Reeling from the loss of his beloved dog, sixth-grader Fred follows his dog's worn-out tennis ball down a sewer grate and finds himself in a parallel universe where his dog is alive and his family and alternate self are happier but are masking the pain of his father's death. By the award-winning author of From Charlie's Point of View. Simultaneous eBook.

RICHARD SCRIMGER is the award-winning author of twenty books for children and adults. His works have been translated in many languages and have been critically acclaimed around the world. His first children's novel, The Nose from Jupiter, won the 10th Annual Mr. Christie's Book Award. His novel From Charlie's Point of View was a CLA Honor Book and was chosen as one of the "Best of the Best" by the Chicago Public Library. Richard's latest, Viminy Crowe's Comic Book, was listed as a Top Shelf Honoree by VOYA magazine. His books Ink Me and The Wolf and Me are part of the Seven series with six other well-known authors. The author lives in Toronto, ON.

All Fred wanted to do was retrieve the ball that his dog Casey loved to chase-after all, now that Casey is dead, it's the only link to his beloved pet that Fred has. When the ball lands in a sewer, Fred does not hesitate to head down. Somehow, the world is quite different when Fred climbs out. He is in an parallel world where Casey is still alive, and his mother and sister live in a house exactly like the one he knows. But then there's Freddie, an alternate-world version of Fred. Who would ever believe this is possible? This novel explores life and loss from an unusual perspective; in Freddie's world, loss is simply accepted as someone's time coming to an end. What seems on the surface a fantasy is actually a philosophical examination of how best to deal with loss, done with a subtle hand. Tie this to Neal Shusterman's Downsiders (1999) and Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Overlander (2003). Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

A boy deals with his grief.Fred is still overwhelmed by the loss of his beloved dog, Casey. One day, while walking home and bouncing Casey's worn tennis ball, Fred loses the ball down a sewer grate. Pursuing the ball, Fred finds himself tumbling down into a parallel universe where his mother and sister are happy, his doppelgänger, called Freddie, is popular and confident, and most importantly, Casey is still alive. As Fred explores this alternate reality with Casey and Freddie, he also delves through his own grieving process, which the author captures gently, letting readers soak up the ebb and flow of Fred's emotions. As the dimensional differences increase and the author introduces more and more fantastical elements, readers have a sure footing in their emotional connection to Fred, allowing the author to introduce some strange, Miyazaki-esque ideas and imagery with ease. Less successful is the author's bizarre pivot regarding Fred's true source of grief. The reveal is indeed stunning, and the emotional payoff is earned, but the decision to camouflage his pain feels like a bait and switch. An ambitious, touching work that goes a step too far. (Fantasy. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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