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The Upper World

Written by Femi Fadugba

Key Stage 3 Gritty Reads Science Fiction Thrillers

LoveReading View on The Upper World

A game-changing thriller about two teenagers a generation apart, connected by one bullet with the power to devastate both of their lives.

September 2021 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2021

This gripping thriller with a high octane plot and full-on characters takes its readers on an amazing journey across two time frames and in and out of real science and maths while also vividly capturing contemporary teenage life. Esso and Rhia, from different times and, in reality, from different generations, are brought together by chance and, from then on, must work out how best to understand the Upper World and all its secrets. Femi Fadugba’s debut novel will delight and challenge readers.

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

More About This Book

This epic thriller is soon to be a major Netflix movie starring Academy Award winner Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther, Judas and the Black Messiah).


Julia Eccleshare's Picks for August 2021

Ten Delicious Teachers by Ross Montgomery and Sarah Warburton

Two Can Play by Margaret Sturton

Tilda Tries Again by Tom Percival

I Am An Artist by Kertu Sillaste

The Upper World by Femi Fadugba

Sing Like a Whale Learn how to make a noise like the animals do! by Moira Butterfield

The Upper World Synopsis

'Believing is seeing, Esso . . .'

Esso is running out of time and into trouble. When he discovers he has the ability to see glimpses of the future, he becomes haunted by a vision of a bullet fired in an alleyway with devastating consequences.

A generation later, fifteen-year-old Rhia is desperately searching for answers - and a catastrophic moment from the past holds the key to understanding the parents she never got to meet. Whether on the roads of South London or in the mysterious Upper World, Esso and Rhia's fates must collide. And when they do, a race against the clock will become a race against time itself . . .

The Upper World Reader Reviews

In addition to our LoveReading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

An engaging book with beautiful storyline full of suspense Full review

Prisha Yadav (Age 11)

The Upper World Press Reviews

To have a book that marries real London life, time travel and relativity in an illuminating and entertaining way is stuff I used to dream about. I had The Upper World in my hands until I finished it. So happy this exists. - Academy Award winner Daniel Kaluuya

For days after reading [The Upper World], I was left with what I can only describe as an electricity surging through my spirit. Fadugba is an impeccable weaver of universes and this is a book I will return to time and time again. - Caleb Femi

[An] ambitious and highly addictive sci-fi thriller . . . The theory of relativity and time-travel science may drive the incredibly tense and compelling plot, but it is Fadugba's skill in weaving this around complex characters and a very powerful human story that makes The Upper World so special. - Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

Wow! The Upper World is a time-twisting, mind-bending thrill ride. I raced through the pages trying to keep up with Esso and Rhia - if I could read at the speed of light, I would have! This south London epic will stay with you long after the final page. - Holly Jackson

A thrilling, electric book - so sharp and quick, so witty and wise it leaves you gasping. - Katherine Rundell

A rollercoaster of a story, like Patrice Lawrence's Orangeboy with an Inception-style twist. Exhilarating and exceptional! - Kat Ellis

The Upper World is an astoundingly impressive debut. Thought-provoking, thrilling, funny, and brilliant in every sense of the word. - Katherine Webber

Truly mind-bending, fiendishly clever, original and stylish - I was blown away by this novel. Philosophy meets physics meets Peckham . . . No doubt about it, The Upper World is destined to stand the test of time. - Amy McCulloch

The Upper World took everything I thought I knew about physics, time, space, and energy, and twisted it into a new, electrifying story that I couldn't put down! - Brittney Morris

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241505618
Publication date: 19th August 2021
Author: Femi Fadugba
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 368 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 3
Topics: Gritty Reads, Racism / Multi-Culturalism, Science Fiction, Thrillers

About Femi Fadugba

Femi Fadugba has a Master's degree from Oxford University where he published in Quantum Physics and subsequently studied as a Thouron Scholar at University of Pennsylvania. Femi has worked as a science tutor as well in solar energy and consulting. He currently lives between Peckham, London and Baltimore, USA.  Photo credit Ernest Simons

More About Femi Fadugba

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