Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 315 pages
Release date: April 1, 2010
Series: Insiders #1
Reviewed by: Lili
Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
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.
Maria V. Snyder is such an amazing author! I never once felt rushed or underinformed while reading INSIDE OUT. For the most part, I just felt blown away by the sheer creativity of it all.
Trella is a scrub. But she's not just any Scrub, she's Queen of the Pipes. Then again, that's not anything to be proud of. Her small size meant that she was given the job of cleaning the pipes since all Scrubs must spend a great deal of their time working. She loves the solitude so much that she began to sleep in the pipes and avoid coming out aside from when it was meal time, when she had to shower, and when she wanted to meet up with her best friend, Cogon. Other scrubs often taunted her because her desire for solitude and lack of friends made it seem like she was too good to interact with other scrubs. Thus, when the Queen of the Pipes mixes with her "lowly followers" right after their most recent Prophet that predicts the existence of Gateway goes into hiding, people start to realize that the Queen of Pipes may just lead the scrubs in a rebellion.
The world-building in this one was phenomenal. Essentially, both the scrubs and the uppers make up a cube. The uppers have better living arrangements and live on the upper levels (like three and four) while the scrubs are their brown-hair and brown-eyed workers that are easily disposed of that live on levels one and two. If you do not listen to the uppers and the Pop Cops (people who patrol the scrubs and keep them in check) then you are fed to Chomper. The scrubs live with the hope that Gateway exists, though its location is unknown. Since they're all stuck inside, Gateway is their ticket to the unknown Outside. And let me tell you, when the location and purpose of Outside is revealed at the very end of the book, your mind will be blown twice over from Snyder's creativity. She even goes as far as to set up her own system of telling time and passing years. As great as this is, it did lead to some slight confusion for me at the very beginning of the novel, but the more the characters talked about it the quicker I was able to grasp the time management system as well.
The characterization in this novel was strong, though it cannot compare to the world-building. Trella is not your typical heroine because she's not liked by many and doesn't like many people in return. She doesn't do things for the good of everyone else, but for her own curiosity. Sure, she evolves throughout the book, but she's very unlikable in the beginning. Believe it or not, that's why I liked her so much. Despite her unlikability, she is that way because she didn't have many friends, which makes her stand out among YA heroines these days. And her beautiful friendship with Cog was a bright point in her life. Cog is the type of big-brother/friend you would kill for in the sense that he would take a beating for you and do everything in his power to protect you. He is adored by all. But I really enjoyed the concept of Logan and Anna-Jade. Twins, Logan and Anna-Jade are what are referred to as Tech No's. They can assemble amazing spy gadgets out of the weirdest little things, like zippers and old toys and buttons. Their creativity and intelligence was a great part of the novel that brought unique inventions to the table and their very existence was fascinating since they were the last two remaining Tech No's in all of Inside. The uppers fear them so much that they fed all other known Tech No's to Chomper.
There's also a slight romance in this one. The romance lover in me enjoyed the fact that it existed, though it barely existed. The overall plot of the story was amazing enough to hold my attention without the romance, but the small and slow-moving forbidden romance between Trella the scrub and Riley the upper never ceased to put a smile on my face. Riley has a big heart and despite his elevated status, he just wants to do what's right and help those who are in need of it, no matter what their social status is.
All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially sci-fi and dystopian lovers. It will not disappoint! It's a quick, easy read and the ending will leave you practically pining for book two!