Monday, March 7, 2011

Outside In: The Queen of the Pipes has returned! (Hold on tight--this one's a thrill ride!)

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.

Book Review:
Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
5 out of 5 stars

The Queen of the Pipes has returned!

Me reading Outside In: What? What?? WHAT??? WHAT????

(In a totally good way--this book is full of intrigue, deceit, and stratagem. I did not see half of these twists coming!)

This is what Across the Universe should have been. Dare I say it? This is what Mockingjay should have been.

Outside In explores the question so often overlooked amidst the cheers at the end of these dystopian books once the crazy regime has been overthrown. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE REVOLUTION? Yes, the tyrant is what?

What a thrill ride! I was getting mental whiplash from all of the twists and turns of this plot. Just when I thought I knew what was going on, BAM!--I'd get hit from behind with another crazy twist that was absolutely nowhere on my radar. Don't you just love reading a book where you're so immersed the pages just melt away and all of a sudden you look up and you've read 100 pages without even noticing? That is Outside In for me.

I heart Trella. She's a little rough around the edges at times, but talk about a plucky, spirited heroine with mad skills, crazy courage, and loads of determination and loyalty. Sure, she's a little reckless at times, but when she risks her life, it's for a reason. (Take notice, Nora Gray.) And it's a good reason. Trella puts herself in danger's path for the cause she so passionately believes in and to save those she fiercely loves. NOT BECAUSE SHE'S STUPID. (That's directed at 2/3 of YA heroines these days.) Yeah, she needs to add a pinch of "verbally expressing tender emotion" capabilities to her skill set during parts of this book, but she shows her love through her actions. THIS GIRL HAS GUTS!

And one of the best parts? Seeing Trella's growth in this book. Yes, she's just as resourceful and tenacious as in Inside Out, but she faces her fear of making mistakes, of being responsible for others, of doing the "clean up" after rushing in to save the day. I loved seeing Trella tentatively test and then embrace her ability to love, forgive, and accept, especially when it came to her mother, and to see her acknowledge and accept that she loves Riley.

Yes, there's the obligatory YA Book 2 break up, but while this one did further the plot, it didn't scream LAME PLOT DEVICE. It felt very in-character for Riley and Trella. Trella was still coming to terms with loving and caring for another on a deeply personal level, and it hurt Riley too much to have Trella keep pushing him away.

And while it's probably not realistic for a 17-year-old to lead this enclosed society, I'm willing to suspend reality because I LOVE THIS SERIES AND THESE CHARACTERS. After initially faltering and cringing away from being a part of the leadership of the new world, Trella steps up (almost too late) and embraces her role as a unifier and leader, and for the rest of the book, she shows why she's the Queen of the Pipes. There is no curling up on drugs in a hospital wing *coughs, Katniss* for our heroine.

I don't know if this is the end of our adventures with Trella and Riley, but WOW what a ride it's been.

Content: Unlike Inside Out, a couple of scenes in Outside In are on the more mature side, so I wouldn't recommend it for younger teens. These scenes weren't really necessary, so you could easily skip them if they bothered you

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