Review: Outside In

Outside In is the second book in the Inside Out series by author Maria V. Snyder. Although publication date is listed in the U.S. as February 15, 2011, it is now available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback format.

It is available for pre-order in eBook format at Barnes & Noble for a March 1, 2011 release date.

Published by Harlequin TEEN, the paperback is 336 pages.

Goodreads description:

Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there’s more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion – between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled.

Because of me, we’re free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again – while still touching base with Riley, of course. He’s the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there’s outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.


Outside. There really is an Outside. The Gateway’s existence is no longer a myth. We proved it. But Outside right now is not at all like the pictures of the green carpeted blue skied world we saw in the computer files. The Outside we hoped to find is still thousands of centiweeks away. Lifetimes away. So far away that none of us will see it.

So, for now it’s still just Inside. But Inside is much bigger than we thought. There is no more need for the uppers and lowers to be crowded on just four levels. And so we build. Because once we have space there will be no more reason for the scrubs and the uppers to be separate. Differences won’t matter when we’re all treated the same. Right?

The freedom that the Force of Sheep fought so hard for in the rebellion hasn’t exactly been simple. Walking away from the responsibilities of leadership probably wasn’t the best bet for the head of the rebellion. And leaving the decisions up to the Committee got us nowhere.

The uppers and lowers are still suspicious of one another. And without the fear of punishment from the Pop Cops not only is the work that needs to be done not getting done, now there are acts of sabotage to further complicate matters.

So we spy. Just like we did against the Trava. And we enforce order. Don’t work, don’t eat. Instead of Pop Cops we have the Mop Cops. And we become nearly as bad as the former rulers. But without any real fear of punishment our leadership is a joke.

And this dissension gives those Outside the perfect opportunity to come in.


Outside In is the fast-paced, action and tension-filled sequel to Inside Out. It continues the story shortly after the first book ends. A committee has been created comprised of both uppers and scrubs to try and establish a new way of doing things and to develop the previously unknown space above Level Four.

Trella, the leader of the rebellion has opted to take a minor role in how things are being handled now that everything is beginning to settle down, preferring to leave the difficult decisions to those she thinks are better equipped to handle them.

As with any newly formed society without proper leadership, things quickly devolve – progress is no longer being made, the formerly oppressed still feel put upon and chaos ensues. But when there is a threat from Outside, will those Inside join together to stand as one or will the dissatisfied lowers band together with the Outsiders to unseat the new leaders of the Inside?

For the greater part of Outside In, Trella struggles with notion that she could be a leader and refuses to step up into that role angering those close to her and letting down the people that she had previously worked so hard to save.

A reluctant hero in the first book, she chooses instead to let others make the decisions even when she sees better ways of doing things. And in this second book, Trella, while just as stubborn is even more untrusting than before and much more indecisive. It is only when she has lost everything and those she cares for are in danger that she becomes the leader she should have been all along.

Author Maria V. Snyder has once again created a thrilling story about the people of Inside and their struggles with accepting the new order. This sequel has a lot more action than the first, with an even more complicated puzzle to solve.

Instead of simply continuing the story with a new adventure and mystery, the author also delves into the very real problems that arise in a newly formed society in the aftermath of a rebellion. The pace continues to build throughout this story until its climactic conclusion, but the ending feels slightly rushed, leaving a few loose ends.

Outside In can be read without having read the first book, although it is not recommended. To get a better understanding of who Trella is, how much things have changed and just what the world for those Inside is like, it is necessary to have read Inside Out.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=4]

On a personal note:

The two books in the series have been the perfect back-to-back reads. I am so glad I discovered this wonderful author and series. If it hadn’t been for NetGalley I might have missed out on something pretty terrific.

I’ve seen Inside Out on Amazon and had added it to my wish list but the description just didn’t grab me and so it remained in my future TBR pile.

I thoroughly enjoyed Outside In, but Inside Out still remains my favorite of the two. There is just something about the slower pace and crawling around the hidden spaces of Inside with Trella that is just so different and appeals to me far more.

I also missed a few of the characters from the first book who played less of a role here, like Jacy and even Karla Trava, and of course would have loved to see more Riley.

But, I was completely hooked by Outside In from the very beginning and there was just so much action that I could not put this book down.

I’m not sure if this is the last book of the series – the end does feel like a series conclusion – but I would love to see Trella, Sheepy, Zippy and the rest of the Insiders again.


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

If you’d like to see a picture of Sheepy and Mama Sheepy from the author’s website, click here and scroll down.

If you’d like to read my review of the first book in the series, Inside Out, click here.

Thank you Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley for the review copy.

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