Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Upside Down by Lia Riley

Title: Upside Down (Off the Map #1)
Author: Lia Riley
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: August 5th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Forever


Five stars.


I will be the first one to admit to you that this review may continue onward to be a fangirling mess, but I will try my best to remain professional. I have only just finished this book, I need to write this review before all my gushing praise goes away.

I'll start with the beginning thoughts. First thing is first, I loved this cover. The coloring is striking and bright, and got my attention. And then I heard "Australia" and "biceps" mentioned in a Twitter conversation about Upside Down. I then had to usher this book to the front of my queue because I needed it. I am so glad I did.

I love the characters in this book. All of them are flawed, but it makes them more relatable and less predictable, in my opinion. The main character, Talia, has some skeletons in her closet. She travels to Australia in order to get away and start over for a little while, to make a Talia 2.0. One that doesn't have OCD freak outs and who graduates on time. Slight interruption here, this is the first time that I've read about an OCD character, and it made Talia stick out to me (in a good way) as a character. She's trying to figure out herself and her life. And then she meets Bran, an intense looking, gorgeous Australian with beautiful eyes and a look that's hard to figure out. He turns her world completely upside down (see what I did there?). But he's no prince charming either, and his closet has more skeletons than a haunted house in October. He doesn't want to love again... But how can he resist a girl like Talia? I love them apart. I love them together. I just love them. The heat that builds between them is incredibly steamy and well written, and I was cheering them on throughout the entire novel.

That said, I don't just love the main characters. In an incredibly rare literary moment (the equivalent of finding a unicorn), I liked the way the side characters were written as well. That's not to say I liked THEM per se, but they fulfilled their purpose in the plot, and had depth. From Marti, Talia's French-speaking lesbian roomie to Jazza, the dumb, hunky surf jockey, each character brought a unique touch to the story.

Another thing that I loved that I wasn't expecting was the amount of humor in this book. More than once, I laughed out loud. I've never read Lia Riley's work before, but she has a quirky, hilarious, pop-culture filled way of writing that I am positively adoring. She's definitely made a fan out of me. There were so many serious parts too, but the happy and the sad seemed to blend and ease into one another, making it seem emotionally flawless to this reader. It felt real.

Similarly, I love the attention to details that made this book so... Well, Australian. The setting was beautifully described in such detail that I feel like I have actually visited there. And the slang/dialect of the characters was a very helpful reminder as to where the book was set, and how I should be reading their voices (which just makes Bran hotter, let's be honest).

The book covers both POVs, though Talia does have far more chapters to her view than Bran does. It never gets muddled or confusing, and I was always very aware of whose POV I was currently reading.

All in all, I loved this book. It is the one that has successfully pulled me out of my reading slump. I will 100% be continuing onward with this series, and pretty much anything else that Lia Riley publishes. Fans of New Adult and romance, Australia, or good humor will be as smitten as I am. Be warned that this book contains sex, alcohol, and death themes.

Thank you to Netgalley and Forever for my copy in exchange for my honest review.


  1. There is no doubt in my mind that I need this book asap. I love your review, and if your fangirling during the reading of this book didn't get me hooked (which it did) then this review certainly did.

    1. I didn't fangirl. Whatever do you mean? 0:)