Book #1 in the OFF THE MAP series
New Adult Contemporary Romance
If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found
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.
I. Loved. This. Book.
Lia Riley ’s debut novel, Upside Down, in a couple of words, can be described as: hilarious, sassy, witty, sensual, intense, and phenomenal. I guess that’s more than a couple of words, but I’m just seriously fangirling over this novel!
Natalia Stolfi needs to get away. So what better place to go then Australia? In Australia, Talia meets Brandon Lockhart and lets just say that their first encounter isn’t the friendliest, so from that point you already know the sass and wit is going to be off the charts between these two. I loved every second of it.
“Looks like I’m enduring a two-hour car ride with the human equivalent of a splinter -a sexy splinter.”
Talia has made it onto my list of favorite female MCs because she’s just so awkward, quirky, hilarious, and sassy without even trying to be. She’s 100% real and she’s extremely down-to-earth. I related so, so well to Talia’s personality and sense of humor that I couldn’t help but develop a huge girl crush on her.
“I mean, I can’t even choose my favorite song, let alone a career path, let alone committing myself forever to a person.”
And let’s not forget Bran.*cue swooning* Bran is mysterious, sexy, and definitely has a way with words. Bran is one smooth talker when he isn’t being an asshole, which yes does happen, but don’t worry, you’ll still manage to fall in love with him. 😉 Going into this book, I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Bran has his own chapters from his POV!!
“How does she walk into the world every day, scared as hell, and not only survive, but also succeed, witty and cute as hell? All I do is sulk around with my black thoughts replaying a life long lost. This cheeky American with the sad brown eyes has a warrior heart. And maybe it’s selfish, but I want to get as close to that, to her, as possible.”
I also feel like I should dedicate a whole paragraph to rave about the humor and amazing writing in Upside Down. Lia Riley, this is me applying to be your best friend because I am quite literally obsessed with your sense of humor. I am seriously fangerling over the wit, sass, and humor throughout this novel. The dialogue was spectacular and Talia’s inner thoughts had me rolling around in hysterics. I highlighted about half this book and if I didn’t want to avoid making this novel my personal coloring book, I’d probably go back and highlight every sentence because every sentence was golden.
This book isn’t just amazing cause of its humor though. Upside Down had sad and even heart-wrenching undertones that, when came to the surface, almost had me in tears. Not only does Lia Riley know how to write her humor, but she knows how to get profound and deep and bring out some raw emotions.
“Because such is life. And maybe the part that makes everything beautiful, worthwhile, bearable is the trying.”
During one of the more emotionally intense chapters in this novel, *cough*29*cough*, Lia Riley’s writing also managed to actually make my eyes WATER, which is the equivalent of me crying! This in itself is a phenomenal task because if you’ve read some of my other reviews you’ll see I’ve mentioned before that it is very difficulty, if not impossible, for a book to affect my tear ducts in any way, shape, or form.
Upside Down has most definitely put Lia Riley on the list of authors I won’t hesitate to One-Click. Fans of Cora Carmack and Lex Martin’s Dearest series need to get on this book like peanut butter on jelly because if you like one or both of these authors you’ll LOVE this book.
Upside Down is a must read debut novel by Lia Riley that will have you rolling around in hysterics, swooning like crazy, and will make you feel every emotion alongside these beautifully imperfect characters. I can not wait to get my hands on Sideswiped, a continuation of Talia and Bran’s story! <3