Upside Down in the Jungle is a positive, responsible novel, full of suspense and rich in descriptive detail. It tells the story of Dr Wade, a renowned international ornithologist who travels widely. When he fails to return from a lengthy trip to study a jungle Lazarus species, his worried family set out to search for him. But neither people nor events are as they seem and when they eventually meet their father, a dark adventure unfolds.
As they find themselves increasingly sucked into a threatening world of big business, sisters Madeleine and Ruby learn to depend on each other; in order to survive they have to decide who can be trusted and why both of their parents are behaving so strangely. During the final denouement, it becomes clear that they have not only saved their father, but that they have also learnt a great deal about themselves and each other, about the strength of family and about trust.
In addition to being a really good yarn, the book also deals with some big-hitting contemporary issues, including the ability of multinational corporations to exploit fragile environments and the role of sustainable ecotourism in living accountably. It’s a novel written from the heart – the author spent her childhood weekends hiking with her family in Colorado and her student summers volunteering in the Costa Rican jungle. These experiences, together with a love of wildlife, add an authoritative overtone to a rich and exciting narrative.