The Upper World by Femi Fadugba is a fascinating debut novel that combines science fiction, mystery, and social commentary in a unique and engaging way. The story follows Esso, a teenage boy from Peckham in London, who discovers that he has the ability to access different points in time by jumping between parallel universes. Using this power, he tries to prevent the murder of a girl named Rhia, who he meets on a train platform, and uncover the dark secrets that led to her death. One of the strengths of The Upper World is its complex and multi-layered plot, which weaves together themes of race, class, family, and personal responsibility. Fadugba does an excellent job of balancing the science fiction elements of the story with the emotional and psychological depth of the characters, creating a narrative that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant. Another standout feature of the book is its diverse cast of characters, who come from a range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Esso, who is Nigerian-British, navigates the challenges of growing up in a disadvantaged community while also dealing with the weight of his newfound abilities. Rhia, who is Jamaican-British, grapples with her own personal demons as she tries to find her place in the world. And the various adults in their lives, including Esso's mother and Rhia's father, are portrayed with nuance and complexity, adding depth and richness to the story. Overall, The Upper World is a thought-provoking and engaging read that will appeal to fans of science fiction and contemporary fiction alike. Fadugba's writing is clear and concise, and his storytelling is masterful, drawing readers in and keeping them hooked until the very end. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fresh and innovative take on the time-travel genre, as well as those interested in exploring the intersection of race, class, and identity in modern-day Britain.
About This Book
During arguably the worst week of Esso's life, an accident knocks him into an incredible world--a place beyond space or time, where he can see glimpses of the past and future. But if what he sees there is true, he might not have much longer to live, unless he can use his new gift to change the course of history.
Rhia's past is filled with questions, none of which she expects a new physics tutor to answer. But Dr. Esso's not here to help Rhia. He's here because he needs her help--to unravel a tragedy that happened fifteen years ago. One that holds the key not only to Rhia's past, but to a future worth fighting for.
The Upper World by Femi Fadugba
The Upper World by Femi Fadugba
If you love fast paced narratives, this is the book for you. It's a brilliant interweaving of gritty city life and time travel meta and never had a dull moment! The writing style and the plot itself were especially well-structured, and the way the two timelines intersected was just beautiful. I couldn't stop flipping to the next page with the way Fadugba wrote cliffhangers and just the worlds in general. Both Esso and Rhia's first-person narratives really got across their different personalities and I loved seeing all of the slang they used, their questionable decisions, etc. Though I didn't know what was going on with the football references, their points get across-- I think older people might have more difficulties with reading the slang, because I had some trouble deciphering London slang and I'm a teenager myself, but it shouldn't be too hard. The teenagers were immensely teenager-like, the threats of peer pressure are real, and nobody knows what's going on! Furthermore, I do not nor have I ever lived in London myself, but the book really highlighted the real struggles and obstacles of many who live there while delivering a dramatic and fantastical plot. It gives such an engrossing view of British street culture, and is really like a contemporary book about being young, poor, and Black in Peckham alongside realistic worldbuilding about the future. Also, neither have I puzzled over time travel theories, but all of the science and physics were very easy to understand for laymen and incredibly educational. Many time travel plots are needlessly complicated, but not this one-- you can clearly see Esso and Rhia hurtling towards their moment, and this moment is executed flawlessly. The book was just so original and strange in a good way. It's apparently getting a Netflix adaptation, and I'm looking forward to it!