Monday, January 7, 2019

[Book Review] Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down

Book photo of Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down

Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down was not only a fun dive into the creation of the popular TV series, but it was also wonderfully creative and so well put-together! 

I absolutely adore this show, and when I first heard that they were creating a behind the scenes companion, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Shout-out to my wonderful husband for gifting me a copy of this book for Christmas of 2018!

This is a must-read for all Stranger Things fans! Diving into the process of how the show came about was so interesting. But be warned: Reading this book will make you want to binge the first two seasons all over again!

Let's dive in to my review!

Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-the-Scenes Companion by Gina McIntyre

The very first thing that I noticed about this book was how worn and damaged it looked and when I realized that was on purpose, I thought it was very clever! There's even a sticker on the cover that says "Melvald's General Store- FAIR" that gives the books "condition" and links it to a shop in the show. There's also a sticker that blends in with the darker background that says "Don't Freak! This book is supposed to look worn and torn."

From there, I just had to explore more of the book construction! This was just filled with interesting bits and pieces! I highly recommend buying this one so you can take the dustjacket off to see what lurks behind it! Even the hardcover of the book and the end papers are printed to look tattered and stained. 

The creativity doesn't stop there! Throughout the book there are so many awesome page designs and features. 

But for now, let's discuss the text.

The forward was so wonderfully written and it set the scene wonderfully! I mean, the first line was: "Do you copy? This book is for nerds. Repeat. This book is for nerds.” 

The forward then moves into a bit of Ross and Matt’s history and how the show came about. It mentions their concerns with it being a flop and their excitement when they ventured onto social media after the release. What a great way to kick off the book!

Next up was the prologue that discussed the childhood years of Ross and Matt, growing up and exploring the world of film, and what their path was like on the way toward getting the show started. I loved the sections that were mixed in that showed which films and books had the most impact on the brothers and the show. 

Then we’re off and running, learning about how the script was written and the process they went through to get Netflix to buy into the pilot so they could film the first season. 

Throughout the book, there were so many wonderful images that were shared. 

I also really liked that there were various footnotes that helped explain things further. 

This is definitely a book that you shoudl really check out for yourself! However, I will list out a few things that I found interesting below. 

Feel free to skip the next two sections if you don't want too much given away!

Interesting notes:
  • The original idea for Stranger Things was much darker. I would have loved to see the show darker but I’m also very happy that they lightened it up a bit to better fit a wider audience.
  • The mind-control experiments for Eleven and her mother were based on real events from a government run study called MKUltra.
  • Eleven was going to die saving her friends in that classroom scene.
  • They never planned to actually go into the upside down on the show, they originally planned on only hearing the other dimension over radios and walkie-talkies. 
  • The sound the demogorgon made was created using sounds from baby seals, human breathing, and scraping sheet metal with dry ice. 
Fun elements of the book:
  • The Dungeon & Dragons primer.
  • The D&D character sheet formats that were about each of the young characters; Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, Lucas Sinclair, and Will Byers.
  • The photos of their backpacks or bags and what they have inside. 
  • Footnotes to further explain things such as video cameras and the compass. 
  • How they created the scene when El flips the van over head as the crew bikes underneath it. 
  • The yearbook like features that highlighted the older teen characters; Nancy Wheeler, Barb Holland, Johnathan Byers, and Steve Harrington.
  • The confidential files from Hawkins International Laboratory about Eleven, Joyce Byers, Jim Hopper. 
  • The lifecycle of the demogorgon, with life stage notes, images, and details about the sounds they made. 
  • The mix tape that explains more about the song choices. 
  • Notes on the creation of the posters for each season.

The book begins to wind down with an epilogue that got me even more anxious for season three and an afterword that concludes things wonderfully! 

Favorite passage:
Because this world needs more storytellers. It needs more dreamers, And yes, it needs more nerds.

My final thoughts:
I thought that reading this would tide me over a bit until Season Three, but it actually made me more anxious! I just can't wait to see what happens next! This book was SO much fun to read! It was so well done, I cannot recommend this one enough for any fan of the show or for those that enjoy learning how tv shows are made. 

Snag your copy today!

Thanks for reading!
Have you watched Stranger Things or read the companion? If so, what did you think? Do you have a favorite character?


  1. We are big fans of Stranger Things in our house, so this sounds very cool!

  2. I'm going to have to grab this one. It sounds so cool. We're HUGE Stranger Things fans but I'm so upset we've had to wait so long for Season 3!

  3. I haven't seen Stranger Things yet but I liked the sound of it. I'm very much a fan of all things 80's or with that vibe! The companion guide looks great!

    1. It's such an interesting show! I love the characters! :)

  4. I just skimmed this because I need to watch the show still. This looks like a great companion though. I like the worn look.


  5. Awesome! I need to pick up my own copy soon! :)

    1. I'd love to read your review on it!! :) It's SO cool!

  6. I didn't originally plan to watch this, cause I'm a huge scaredy-cat, but I had a number of people try to convince me and I'm so glad they did! It's so interesting and the acting is great. I'm glad this book provided lots of behind the scenes info that was fun to read. And I LOVE the design of the cover.

  7. That book is so cool. I love that it is made to look all tattered and worn. Totally a book to keep on your shelf just to show off (after it's read) I liked Strange Things the first one but I have been wanting to watch it again and then get into the second season. I might do that soon and I might even be considering getting this book! :) Great Review!

  8. This sounds awesome! Love the D&D stuff. I've been wanting to play it, but need to find a group to do it with.

    1. :-D I've only played a very light version a couple times, but I'd love to play again! :) I wish we lived closer!!

  9. This sounds really good. I really like how they tied everything together with the look of the book too. Nice review.

  10. Honestly, my first thought was that this was a much older book because of the way that the cover and inside looks! How neat though, I love that. It sounds SO interesting. Also, I kind of wish that the show was a little more dark too ha ha. Although, like you, I understand why it isn't.

  11. I'm a big fan of this show, so I guess I should check this out! And I love the old, worn retro look of the cover!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  12. This sounds like SO much fun! I'm headed to a bookstore today, so maybe I'll gift this to myself. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Yes!!! I hope you do! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you pick it up!

  13. This book does sound amazing! I love the care they took into putting it all together and I'm LOVING all of the retro covers and things some pubs are doing these days.

  14. I just saw this one at my local library! I should pick it up next time just to peruse.

  15. I loved that they made it look worn and damaged on purpose to suit the aesthetic of the book. And I haven't watched the series yet but after I do I will probably fall in love and want to read this behind the scenes too.

    1. Right?! So cool! I definitely recommend the show!