This week we are excited to feature a new young adult (YA) science fiction novel. Femi Fadugba’s The Upper World was published on December 7, 2021 by HarperTeen, a division of HarperCollins Publishing).

The Upper World begins with sixteen-year-old Esso Adenon just trying to make it through life and school in South London. In the course of escaping a a near-death experience, he ends up in “The Upper World”, an undefined realm where he can see glimpses into the future. In The Upper World,” he meets Rhia, an orphan bouncing from foster home to foster home. Each chapter alternates between these two characters perspectives as we learn more about them and their inextricably connected fates.

The Upper World is yet another sci-fi story centering a black character, something I appreciate as a reader and believe is worth highlighting and celebrating. As a teen, most of my encounters with YA science fiction were titles like The Hunger Games of The Maze Runner. While I enjoyed these books, I encountered very few Black characters, which made the world these stories took place in feel even more distant. With the recent influx of YA and science fiction from Black authors, my inner child is always excited to see multiple Black characters in a genre that has often pushed them to the sidelines or killed them off. (Spoiler: I’m still upset about Rue dying in Hunger Games and the movie came out back in 2012).

The book has also received wide praise for its unique approach to incorporating diagrams and scientific explanations for the physics that are central to the story. Fadugba’s novel is in league with the works of other major African sci-fi authors like Tochi Onyebuchi, Nnedi Okorafor, Tade Thompson, and Tomi Adeyemi.

If you’re interested in a fast-paced novel that has time travel, scientific theories, thrilling action scenes, dual timelines, and encounters in the metaphysical realm, The Upper World has just the story for you!

Adding to the success of his debut, Fadugba’s novel is being turned into a film for Netflix, starring and co-produced by Ugandan-British star Daniel Kaluuya.

BUY The Upper World: Amazon