The Upper World
by Femi Fadugba
Narrated by Tom Moutchi; Weruche Opia
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 19 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 20 Aug 2021
Penguin Random House UK Audio, Penguin
Brought to you by Penguin.
The game-changing YA thriller that defies space and time, soon to be a major Netflix movie starring Oscar-nominated Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther)
2020: Close to getting expelled and caught up in a deadly feud, the tensions surrounding Esso seem to be leading to a single moment in a Peckham alleyway that could shatter his future.
2035: Stripped of everything, football prodigy Rhia has just one thing left on her mind - figuring out how to avert a bullet that was fired fifteen years in the past.
Everything changes when Esso gains access to a mysterious world where he can see glimpses of the past and future, and when Rhia starts understanding the physics of it. The two must work together to master the secrets of the Upper World and seize control of their own destinies before it's too late.
© Femi Fadugba 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
|EDITION||Other Format, Unabridged|
Average rating from 14 members
I listened to the audiobook of The Upper World by Femi Fadugba and it’s a tale that travels time. Told by duel narrators Esso, in the present, and Rhia, 15 years in the future. Esso who is caught up in a deadly feud and Rhia, who is looking for something. Both the narrators are both very likeable characters and you can engage with them easily. The story of how they come together switches easily between them and is easy to follow. I would love to hear more about the Upper World in future books.
A unique and fascinating story which combines the grittiness and danger of being a teenager caught up in gang violence in South London with physics and time travel! I was a little apprehensive about whether I would find the story hard to follow, but the maths and physics was explained in a way I could understand and added so much extra dimension. The characters were well developed and I was able to empathise with them despite not having had similar life experiences which is a great testament to the author’s writing. The two narrators for the different points of view worked brilliantly and the casting was perfect for the characters. I really enjoyed listening to this as an audiobook and having the two different narrators really brought the story to life.
Wow!! what a book, it will be interesting to see how this is made into a movie, i wasnt completely sold on the narrator! But would definitely read it as a book!
The Upper World is a brilliantly fast paced debut YA novel from Femi Fadugba that interweaves the gritty realities of London life with the theory of time travel. Vividly told through dual perspectives and set in Peckham, South London, we meet Esso and Rhia who instantly drew me into their lives. I really connected to Esso, who in present day is having a hard time balancing the normal difficulties of life as a teenage boy, on top of the pressures of street rivalries. Rhia 15 years in the future is a rising football star living in the foster care system. She is looking for any clues to what happened to her parents and when she meets her new physics tutor, they may both have the answers the other is searching for. So many aspects of this book are moving and thought provoking, I found myself shaking my head in sadness at the struggles and obstacles that are very much a part of life growing up in inner cities. A wonderful job was done to highlight real references mixed into the fiction of the story. The crescendo pacing was exactly what was needed and boy did it all lead up to a dramatic yet heart wrenching finish. Packed full of scientific logic and physicists theories which were fairly easy to understand and very educational, I would have loved reading this book while I was at school, not only does it fantastically portray British street culture, it also would have really give me representation and motivation to embrace science in a completely new way. I hope schools around the UK have The Upper World stocked in their libraries. Now I listen to a lot of audiobooks and this one while perfectly narrated by Tom Moutchi and Weruche Opia had instrumental music scattered throughout. It mostly added to the drama and tension building, but personally I found it at times distracting particularly in several of Rhia's chapters. However, if you have the chance to listen to the audio version, do it! Especially if you are not from London or used to the type of British vernacular that was spoken by the characters. The language was so descriptive that it is no wonder that The Upper World got picked up to be adapted into a Netflix film, staring Oscar winning actor Daniel Kaluuya, before the book was even published! I'm excited to see what the future brings for Fadugba, I hear a sequel is in the works, one that focuses on "quantum mechanics and the multiverse". The idea of a Peckham based multiverse is amazing news to my sci-fi loving self! Thank you to Penguin Random Children' UK sand NetGalley for copies of the eARC and audiobook in exchange for my honest review. TW: violence, mental health, death
This is not your average Sci-fi novel! The best reason that I can give for why I think that this new sci-fi YA novel will be a huge hit is that it’s probably too cool for this forty-something teacher. There is talk of drill (I asked my 12-year-old), gangs, youth culture and lots of teenage concerns. However, there is also a load of physics involved, and it’s all explained in a really accessible way – it takes what kids will have learnt about in school and extrapolates it to explain how time travel is apparently possible. In terms of plot, there are two really strong stories here which quickly merge together once you’ve got thoroughly immersed in each of them. There is plenty of grit, tears and pain in the lives of both Rhia and Esso, who are both likeable and misunderstood, multidimensional characters – by the end of the novel, you’re really rooting for them both to succeed. I’ve got a really reluctant reader at home, but I loved this ARC so much that I’ve pre-ordered him a physical copy. I’ve also put it on my wish list for the school library, and I really believe that teenage boys in particular will love this. The tale is narrated by Tom Moutchi and Weruche Opia, and I absolutely loved both of their voices. They brought an energy and excitement to the narrative, and enhanced the feeling that this is a novel full of vibrancy and anguish. A job well done! I don’t normally assign a rating to my reviews, but I’m going to give this one an easy 5 out of 5!
The premise of the story was very interesting. We have two characters intrinsically linked by an event that Esso is desperate to prevent. While this event has led to Rhia 15 years later needing this event to have been stopped. At the same time Esso is introduced through a book left by his dad, to the upper world. This leads him to not only believe he can see the future but because he can see it that he can change it. The story is set in London in both present day and 15 years in the future. Esso is caught up in a world of rival gangs, violence and little hope for the future. While Rhia 15 years on has been in and out of foster homes and struggles to believe that she can achieve as she feels things always go wrong. The story is well told with good narration and an interesting plot. The ideas and science involved makes it an interesting story.