Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Inside Out & Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

☆ / 
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 315 / 326
Genre: YA: Sci-Fi Dystopian
Source: Netgalley
ISBN: 037321006X / 0373210116

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. -Netgalley

Imagine being a number, one of thousands who live in the same rooms, eat in shifts, work for ten hours, rest for ten hours every day at the same job that was assigned to you before you were five. For the scrubs, that is normal. Walking through the lower levels of Inside is like pushing through a hallway with a herd of cows. The smells, the noise, the light always on. Could you survive?

Trella is a lower that escaped her confines as much as possible. Her job was to clean the pipes that wound through the levels, so she knew the maze of metal with even her eyes closed. Often, she took that for granted to nap in silence and darkness that would wrap around her like a blanket. Trella also took advantage to explore the upper levels, a life that she could never hope to obtain.

Prophetic rumors of a gateway wound through the conversation of scrubs, giving them a little hope to latch onto in their pitiful lives. Trella never believed the prophets or her best friend who constantly lapped up every word, until one day when one of the story-tellers grabbed her attention and peaked her interest. Claiming to have evidence hidden in an upper level room he once held, this prophet fed into Trella's curiosity until she finally ventured into the pipes to find the truth. -The Book Heroine

Maria has done it again. With characters that hook your heart from the first page, you chase the adventures they lead with tears, laughter, and an entire mix of emotions until the last page. Trella is the little engine-that-could in this dystopian tale. A girl with nothing to hope for other than the few moments of silence she can take in the ducts she calls her escape, she is driven into a spiraling adventure.

I tend to lean towards one character or two in a novel, but I could hardly choose a handful. Even the villains take a hold of you in their mission to take control. Trella is real. I felt the grime of the walls and smelled the odor of so many bodies around as she tried to escape them (or it could have just been my dirty laundry piling up). Cog makes you want a friend as loyal and trusting.

I can't help but compare Trella to Yelena, one of Snyder's past characters in Poison Study. Both are strong-willed, but equally unsure of their abilities to lead change. There is something in Trella that doesn't let her give up on being slightly different, a wonderful characteristic in a leading female role.

Romance? Of course. Does Snyder go overboard in this category? Not even close. She only touches on the tingles and butterflies Trella experiences in light of the rebellion. As the reader, you are rushed through a series of struggles and adventures, torn between fighting for life and fighting for love. And since it is a series, Snyder does not give away all in one book. You are left with the same hope for the heroine's love life on the last page of Inside Out as you were halfway through.

Although I gave Inside Out five stars, Outside In resulted in four for one minor reason. I wasn't as drawn into the tale as the first. Without giving too much away, it was much more predictable than the outcomes of the first and that lost the sequel a bit of luster for me. Trella's continued adventure was still exciting and perilous and I wouldn't have stopped reading just because of my guessing being correct. Maybe it was just luck! I also had a hard time keeping track of the measurement of time that she had set up. It seemed a lot of significance was placed on this, yet it didn't place quite as relevant once I read them through.

I would recommend this series to any fan of Maria V. Snyder, dystopian fiction, or a teacher hoping to add another incredible heroine to their bookshelves! I cannot wait to read what this talented author has in store for us next.


  1. You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. It’s not a pass on award. This is just for you to keep. I want to award you with the Best Books Blog Award for all the hard work you do!

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  2. You are so sweet! Thank you for the award. It is wonderful that you go around presenting these.

  3. I've only read two dystopias, The Hunger Games series and Divergent. Now I absolutely love distopia. I think it will have to be the genre I write next. Anyway, great review, I'll check these books out for sure :)