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Friday, October 30, 2015

Review: UPSIDE DOWN by Lia Riley

Title: Upside Down
Author: Lia Riley
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Off The Map #1
Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.
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"Leaving is the only way to move forward. If I never get lost, I'll never be found."

Witty and heart-warming. Talia and Bran pulled at my heart strings. From the moment they met, I had an inkling that they'd have me grinning and giggling (which they did). It was instant chemistry between the two. I really enjoyed how their relationship grew. But there were many times where I wanted to shake either characters, I must admit. Both Talia and Bran are flawed, but it's how they owned up to their mistakes that made me root for them even harder.

Talia's family fell apart after the loss of her sister. Her OCD has been uncontrollable, she won't be graduating as planned, and she's afraid to tell her parents and closest friends about it. She escapes to Australia for an exchange program in hopes to reinvent herself and live life for two. I read Upside Down in my third year of university, so I felt a connection with Talia as she was figuring out what to do about school. I liked Talia. I liked how she spoke her mind and could get snarky despite being vulnerable at times (gotta love a heroine who can hold her own). 

"Don't break your heart trying to batter against the world, okay?"

Bran is a charming environmentalist who stole my heart with his humor. He was very sweet and observant. He noticed many of Talia's OCD 'rituals' yet didn't treat her differently like Talia's own mother did. I loved him 85% of the time. The other 15% made me want to shout out in frustration at his choices. And it was the last 15% or so of the book that I felt was rushed. The conflict resolved too smoothly for my liking, not that the scene didn't make my heart flutter. 

There were a few secondary characters that made an impression on me. My favorite being Marti, Talia's dorm neighbour. She wasn't present for a majority of the book but her energetic and fun personality made me like her right away! Talia's mother was a piece of work. She couldn't move on from her daughter's death sure, but it made me so sad how she pushed blame onto others, and how treated Talia. Thank goodness, Talia's father seemed like a sweetheart. I do hope that her mom will redeem herself later on in the series. I look forward to seeing what the next book has to offer! 

"We're two screwed up people and still, for some reason when we are together, we're okay."

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Upside Down
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  1. This seems like such a cute and heart-warming book! And oh my goodness, the covers for this series is absolutely delightful. It's all swoon and manages to catch the eye. I have a feeling I'd like Bran - I mean, the guy's an environmentalist. <3

    1. Right?! This book was such a cover buy for me heheh. Bran has a sweet sense of humor too. Definitely book boyfriend material ;)

  2. I've seen this series around, Jae, and it looks really good! Heartwarming contemporaries are excellent, and it's good to know I'd get several when I start this :)
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. You can never read too many heartwarming contemporaries! Or have too many book boyfriends from them haa. I hope you enjoy the series if you do pick it up!