Review: Inside Out

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder is the first book in a series of the same name. Released on April 1, 2010 in the U.S., it is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and eBook formats.

Published by Harlequin TEEN the paperback edition is 384 pages.


Goodreads description:

Keep Your Head Down.

Don’t Get Noticed.

Or Else.

I’m Trella. I’m a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I’ve got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

Inside. For the scrubs Inside is always crowded. Always noisy. Never a moment’s peace. Never a chance to be alone. Never a chance to think.

Work ten hours, rest ten hours. In shifts. Week after week. From the fourteenth centiweek on. Do your job. Hope for nothing.

Trella refused to hope and was quick to dismiss the prophets who tried to instill it. What was the point? She practically knew every inch of Inside. She wasn’t called Queen of the Pipes for nothing. Inside was everything. There was nothing more.

To escape the crowds, smells and noises that were ever present in the lower levels, she would hide in the ducts and spaces in-between. What might have been claustrophobic for some was an escape for her.

And the brief glimpses she had of the upper levels made her long for that much open space. So when a prophet finally appeared who claimed to have proof of the Gateway to Outside, a reluctant spark of curiosity and hope finally broke through the metal layer Trella kept around her heart.

And that changed everything. Something was set into motion that couldn’t be stopped and Trella would have to risk everything she had – her friend, her life and the others who would put their safety on the line for her – to get the answer to whether Outside was more than a myth.


Inside Out is a highly imaginative and well-constructed dystopian novel. The detail the author used in creating the world of Inside is phenomenal. Readers will be able to visualize every inch of Inside that Trella has explored, feel the press of the crowds in those two dreadful levels which contain the scrubs and get a true sense of what life is like for those kept in ignorance and without hope.

Trella isn’t your typical hero, but she is tough, independent, honorable and most of all loyal. She is willing to sacrifice herself to save her only friend and put her life on the line for someone else’s beliefs.

The pace in Inside Out is not quick, but there is a goal, a purpose and a number of puzzles to solve. And the tension that builds will keep you on the edge throughout.

While this does have a somewhat Science Fiction feel to the story, it is also a wonderful study of human behavior for people who are kept under firm control, with strict schedules, no personal freedoms, separated into a classist system and left in the dark about the past and without vital pieces of information.

Inside Out will show you just how much people can surprise you. This book, and series, is a must read for those who enjoy stories where the underdog fights the system, David battles Goliath and where one person can make a difference. And yes, there is a bit of humor and a little romance thrown in to round this out nicely.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

I did not expect to like this book nearly as much as I did. I don’t consider myself a dystopian novel junkie or even someone into Sci-Fi so this came as a huge surprise.

For the first seventeen pages I just wasn’t sure. As a very visual thinker I found it a bit tough initially to picture the world of Inside and it felt very much more Science Fiction-y than I originally anticipated during this initial introduction. But I knew I liked the author’s writing style so I kept on.

By page eighteen I was completely hooked. This book is totally the type of movie I would love but not typically a book I would pick up off the shelves, but as I continued to read on, I became a fan. (And yes, this would make the coolest of movies! I would pay my $17.50 per ticket to see this in 3-D.)

Although I did find myself gasping for air as Trella climbed through those ducts and vents, slept in those tiny rooms packed with other people, crowded into those hundred hour assemblies, just imagining life in such confined space.

This was such an exciting adventure to be on with Trella, Cog, Riley, Logan and the Broken Man. And now I cannot wait to start reading Outside In as there is just so much possibility that awaits.


How I “discovered” this book:

Inside Out is a “Just Discovered” just learned about book.

When I first became a member of NetGalley I got approved for an eARC of Outside In. I knew I wanted to read and review it because I had heard such great things about the author although I hadn’t yet read anything by her.

At the time I knew it was the second book in a series but I thought I might just try to read the book without reading book one, then at some point decided it wasn’t in my best interest and also wasn’t the best way to review a book.

So, I purchased Inside Out with the plan of reading it well prior to release of book two and reviewing both books. However, time seems to have slipped away and so now, it is less than one week from release of Outside In so I have a bit of catching up to do.

My plan is to read and review both books back-to-back and hopefully do justice to both.


To read an excerpt from Inside Out from the author’s website, click here.

To read an excerpt of Outside In, the next book in the series, due out on February 15, 2011 in the U.S. in paperback format, click here.

Book trailer for Inside Out:

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