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Upside Down

Narrated by: Glen Lloyd
Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
Categories: Romance, LGBT
4.5 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Jordan O'Neill isn't a fan of labels, considering he has a few. Gay, geek, a librarian, socially awkward, a nervous rambler, an introvert, an outsider. The last thing he needs is one more. But he when he realizes adding the label "asexual" might explain a lot, it turns his world upside down.

Hennessy Lang moved to Surry Hills after splitting with his boyfriend. His being asexual had seen the end of a lot of his romances, but he's determined to stay true to himself. Leaving his North Shore support group behind, he starts his own in Surry Hills, where he meets first-time-attendee Jordan.

A little bewildered and scared, but completely adorable, Hennessy is struck by this guy who's trying to find where he belongs. Maybe Hennessy can convince Jordan that his world hasn't been turned upside down at all, but maybe it's now - for the first time in his life - the right way up.

©2019 NR Walker (P)2019 NR Walker

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Beautiful and heartwarming

Labels.

We all have them. The world is built on them. Good and bad. Big and small. Some labels make us fit in, other set us apart. Many are chosen for us, some are chosen by us. No matter how much we try we can never run away from them, outrun them. And some have the power to change our world.

Jordan recently found a new label. One he wished desperately not to fit, but one that explained so much about himself and all his past relationship failures; asexual. But he had enough labels already and didn’t want to add a new one to the collection. He was perfectly content with his life as a librarian, his two best friends and to stare and daydream about Headphones Guy on the bus. He really didn’t need anything else. His best friend Merry didn’t agree with him and dragged him to a support group for asexuals. A meeting that had him confront some truths and realise that maybe one more label wasn’t the end of the world. This is my kind of book. I loved the sweetness, the slow-burn; or rather the building of a relationship. Letting it grow over time. And doing it on a bus ride with the Soup Crew cheering made it much more special and fun.

I’m loving this new narrator; Glen Lloyd. His Aussie accent had me melting. It made me realise how much I’d missed when listening to books set in Australia but narrated by non-native Aussie speakers. Upside Down might be Lloyd’s first foray into audiobook narration, but if I hadn’t looked that fact up I wouldn’t have known it from listening to this book. He was that good, not flawless but nothing that labelled him as a novice either.

Glen Lloyd captured the heart and essence of Jordan. His nervousness and verbal diarrhea was spot on. But more than that, he really made the listener feel him questioning himself, trying to find answers, a place and people to belong with. At the same time he was also desperately trying to avoid another label. It all shone through in Lloyd’s words. He made you ride the bus with the Soup Crew, cheering Jordan on, offering suggestions, helpful and otherwise. In short, he made you a part of Jordan’s journey.

There was only one thing that I wished for with Lloyd’s narration, and that was different voices for Hennessy and Jordan. At times it was difficult to keep track of who was speaking. This was especially true during the rapid fire exchanges that Walker does so brilliantly. Lloyd does distinguish between male and female characters, but when the two main characters are male, you – or at least I – need some difference between them. I mean their personalities were vastly different, but still it wasn’t always clear who was who. And then there was a re-take that wasn’t ideal, where the same sentence was repeated twice. But you know what, those are all minor things in the whole of it. Because, I still loved every second of this book, and will more than gladly listen to more books by Lloyd. I hope there he’ll produce many more to come.

For me it’s rare to find books about ace people. Even more rare to find really good books with ace people, with a lot of intimacy, and not the sexual kind. Walker gave me that with this book. And so much more. It celebrated love in all shapes and forms. It celebrated diversity and acceptance and that no matter how or who you loved it was all love.

At its core, this book was all about finding and accepting yourself. About love in all shapes and forms. It was a sweet slow-burn love story filled with the humour and fun characters that Walker is known and loved for. She also showed us that some labels can make the world turn right way up.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I didn't expect to like this...... But I Did!

Hennessey and Jordan are both asexuals - something that is hard to understand - but you can on some level. I started the book in the same way - although NRW is one of my very favorite authors - Red Dirt Hearts... Etc. I didn't see what the draw would be without chemistry - and yet there was chemistry - albeit a chemistry I don't totally get but you could feel it viscerally and I was sold. Both written and audio (Glen Lloyd rocks these two - had the perfect voice and acting skills to pull this one off - Listen, it's fun and whimsical and at the end of it all LOVE. NRW you rock - keep em coming honey!

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Heartwarming and necessary

This is not your typical romance. The MCs are both on the asexual spectrum and Jordan struggled with being labeled for it. Even though Jordan and Hennessy are attracted to one another, they don’t want or need sex to express their feelings.

In true N.R. Walker fashion, I was entertained and charmed from the first chapter. Relevant and necessary for today, this book tackles a tough issue and makes you look at societal “norms” and what they really mean.

I believe my husband is asexual. It’s something we struggle with, not because I need him to meet my sexual needs, but because I don’t think he’s come to terms with it for himself. He’s my Jordan and I love him no matter what. I’m going to give him this book as a gift. I truly think it’s enlightening and therapeutic.

Love is love is love. And no one expression of it is more right than the other. Thank you N.R. Walker. We need more representation like this.

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Practically perfect in every way

This book was wonderful!!! It was special in ways that many books aren’t. The book was hysterical and posed questions that really made me think. The characters development was fantastic. Each characters voice was unique and provided a full world experience. Can’t recommend this book more highly

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Perfect

I love this story with the passion of a thousand hugs and adore the simple yet beautiful way asexuality is represented. This performance by new Australian narrator Glen Lloyd perfectly captures the tone and hilarity of Jordan and his wonderful Hennessy. The use of a native Australian voice cannot be approved of more! An absolute delight from start to finish

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Love the book

Great story love J and H. And I learned a lot to.
This was a new for me, but a good narrator.

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loved it

I'm a sucker for all things NR Walker and I loved this one from start to finish. This book explores an asexual relationship and the fact asexuality is normal - it is a lesson we can all learn. My only negative comment would be Jordan's use of "motherf****r". I get it was part of his character, but I'm not a big swearer and found it overused, excessive and unnecessary in places.

Glen Lloyd is a newbie narrator for me. His native Aussie accent suites the characters and he did a great job bringing all the characters to life.

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  • BevS
  • 11-16-19

Jordan...you are a star!!

4 stars, maybe 4.25 for this audio version of one of my fave stories of 2019. I loved Jordan to bits, potty-mouth and all, and Hennessey, Merry and Angus were also good. I can't say that I've heard of the narrator Glen Lloyd before...but as his name didn't turn up any other results on Audible, I suspect he's either new or hiding behind another name. His take on Jordan was great, I'm more or less certain that he is Australian thank goodness, and if he isn't, he does a bloody good impersonation of being one, BUT there were a few niggles [Oedipus has a silent O, chaste is like waist and it's assume, not ashume]. I have to say the production of the narration was a little weird...they kept cutting the word chapter off so we got 'ter 11' or whichever number it was, hardly ever chapter but ter. Strange. Still, I really enjoyed it and the last chapter was lovely.

***Book Review***

I adored the hell out of this...especially Jordan [💜] and Hennessey [what can you do with parents that give you stupid names??] the 2 MC's, and yes, there is definitely NO sex!! Heartwarming, an utter joy to read, so many laughs and happy tears...what more could you ask for from a story?? Brilliant friends, fellow passengers on the 353 bus - the Soup Crew [read the story, you'll get the comment], poetry and art references...I also loved the little mentions of Alexa and Siri...as if they were real people 😉. An entertaining, charming and heartfelt read from Nic. Loved it to bits, and VERY highly recommended!! 💜🧡💚💛💙

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  • Ev
  • 12-05-19

Wonderful

This was charming, funny delightful and positive. I really enjoyed this narration. Excellent performance Glen Lloyd. One of Walker's best.

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  • P D
  • 11-20-19

Highly recommended

Such a wonderful story by NR Walker and the narration by Glen Lloyd is absolutely perfect. I can’t imagine any other narrator who could have been a better choice. Excellent!!!

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  • Alan Verhagen
  • 11-20-19

A much needed exploration of Asexuality

This is a much needed exploration of asexuality. Jordan is an insecure gay man coming terms with his lack of sexual desire. He is romantically attracted to Hennessy who he sees on the bus each day. I gained some insight into the elusive nature of asexuality and liked most characters, but found Jordan’s self-centred ramblings harder to love. Was it the result of immaturity or narcissism? Either way, it got in the road. I also felt the coincidences were a little too unrealistic.