Trella is a scrub, just one of the thousands packed in like sardines in the lower levels who keep Inside clean. Because of her penchant for roaming the miles of pipes around Inside to steal moments of peace for herself, Trella is known as Queen of the Pipes. And her superior knowledge of getting around comes in handy when she inadvertently starts a rebellion against the ruling Upper family of Inside and their brutal Pop Cops.
I don’t often get fangirly in my reviews, but OMG does this book make me giddy! I’ve been thinking about it non-stop since I finished it last night, and I am excited to share what made me enjoy it so (spoiler-free of course).
This dystopia has a very sci-fi feel, especially when you realize that everyone Uppers and scrubs alike are essentially trapped within a very large, self-sustaining cube. It gets you spinning theories as to how they got there, why they’re there, and who controls “gateway” (the way out all scrubs are hoping really does exist).
This cube setting was difficult for me to imagine initially. Trella does A LOT of crawling through the pipes from one sector to the next, so it made things much simpler once I drew a diagram (there’s a detailed description in the first 10 pages that starts you out) to help me imagine the distances and locations of everything.
Speaking of Trella... She’s hard to like at first. She’s a stubborn, skeptical loner with a prickly, sarcastic personality. But as the story progresses, and she starts to let her guard down, your heart goes out to her as you realize it’s the divide and conquer techniques of the rulers that have molded and manipulated her (and everyone else).
And boy are the rulers messed up. Seems they seized control from a more democratic initial leadership, and make sure nobody is in the know except for them. Anyone who doesn’t conform to their 10 hour on, ten hour off shifts, who asks questions, or forms noticeable friendships is fed to the Chomper. They have a strict one child policy for the Uppers and encourage pregnancy in scrubs (but take the children away). There’s a lot of food for thought here on eugenics, class warfare, and such but it’s worked so well into the plot and action, you never feel like you are getting an info dump.
The plot kept me engaged throughout with its clever twists and turns. Along the way we get to know a great cast of characters, all of whom felt real to me (even the rat guy who was only given one page of face time).
My absolute favorite character was Riley, the Upper boy who becomes Trella’s ally and romantic interest. He is so YUM, I want to create a button that says “Team Riley” (though there’s no other team to be on really in this book) and post in my sidebar right under my “Team Peeta” button. I loved his and Trella’s scenes together, and how his silly sweetness really draws her out.
Ok, now that this is officially my longest review ever, I’ll wrap it up by saying the ending packed a punch. I thought it concludes this chapter of life Inside very nicely (the story arc feels complete, no cliffhanger), but still makes you eager to read further adventures when they come out. I just hope the next installment, OUTSIDE IN, due in 2011, has lots and lots of Riley!
INSIDE OUT is due in paperback original on April 1st. Find out more about it on the author’s website.
My Rating: 5 Zombie Chickens – The Ultimate Dystopian Experience
Thanks to the publisher, I have two finished copies of INSIDE OUT to give away to residents of the US and Canada. Just tell me in your comment what most appeals to you about INSIDE OUT and you're entered! I'd appreciate it too if you'd tweet a link or post a link in your sidebar, thanks! This contest will remain open for 2 weeks, until March 8th at 11:59 PM CST.
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