|Upside down in the middle of nowhere|
Author: Lamana, Julie T.
At the end of August 2005, ten-year-old Armani is looking forward to her birthday party in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where she and her extended family live, but Hurricane Katrina is on the way, bringing destruction and tragedy in its wake.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 166193
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 63709
Kirkus Reviews (02/01/14)
School Library Journal (03/01/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2014 Gr 4–7—Ten-year-old Armani is crushed to learn that her long-anticipated birthday party will be cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina's imminent approach. Her disappointment quickly transforms into terror as the storm hits, separating her from her parents. She must look after her two younger sisters on a journey that takes her first to the Superdome, then to a shelter, and finally back home to the ravaged Lower Ninth Ward. This is a story that will grab avid and reluctant readers alike because of the intensity of its drama. The plot is well constructed, and the cliff-hanger endings of many chapters will ensure rapid page turning. Armani is a fully realized protagonist, and her narrative effectively conveys the novel's mood, offering a sense of foreboding that grows into palpable fear. A well-defined setting, with evocative descriptions of the neighborhood and storm, enhances the story. Lamana handles the gritty details and macabre imagery quite gracefully, and never does the account seem sensationalized. Toward the novel's end, occasional hiccups in flow mar the narrative. The portrayal of some events seems far-fetched and conveniently coincidental. Likewise, the conclusion, though satisfactorily resolved, comes about somewhat awkwardly. However, these flaws are not so grievous as to distract in a meaningful way from the story at hand. Overall, this novel gives readers a realistic and vivid sense of what it may have been like to experience the disaster firsthand.—Julie Hanson, Chicago Public Library - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/01/2014 Armani Curtis tells the story of the week she turned 10, when Hurricane Katrina came to her birthday party and destroyed her world. Over the course of this accomplished debut, Armani grows up far more than anyone would wish. She watches family members die and disappear, becomes separated from her mother and asthmatic baby brother, and is forced to make huge decisions when she’s left caring for her two younger sisters. Some, such as leaving the overcrowded Superdome, are good ones. Others are not, such as when she spends days avoiding the protective services worker who finally gets help for her ill sister and connects her with surviving family members. Armani’s voice is convincingly that of a child from the predominantly African American area of the Lower Ninth Ward. Readers will recognize her self-absorbed focus on her upcoming birthday, sympathize with her frequent bouts of despair, and appreciate the internalized voices of adults in her family that keep her going. Full of touching, distressing detail, this is a strong fictionalization of a very real horror. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.