Title: Inside Out
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: A vibration rippled through my body.
Trella is a scrub. She lives in the lower levels, and it’s her job to keep Inside clean for the Uppers. It’s all she has ever known. Nicknamed Queen of the Pipes, she spends as much time as she can in the pipes, the only place a scrub can be alone in the overcrowded conditions of the lower levels. When her only friend Cog asks her to meet with Broken Man, a prophet who claims that he can find the coordinates to Gateway – a passage to the Outside – Trella is convinced that Broken Man is another fraud preying on the hopes of those who haven’t resigned themselves to life Inside. She agrees to use her talents navigating the pipes, if only to prove to Cog that Broken Man is a phony. What she finds is something very different – could there be a way Outside? And what is she willing to risk to find it?
I am continually amazed at the variety of dystopian fiction being written for the YA reader. Author Maria V. Snyder does a fantastic job of world-building, making it easy to understand Trella’s claustrophobic frustration that she has no place to call her own. Trella is a fierce character, one that kept me fully invested in her story. I couldn’t wait to find time to read to spend more time in her world.
Snyder also kept me guessing – twice I thought I knew what was going to happen next, and twice I was completely surprised. The ending is satisfying enough that I didn’t want to hurl the book across the room with frustration at having to wait for book two, and yet new possibilities opened up on the very last page. Book two can’t come quickly enough for me. In the meantime, I haven’t read any of Snyder’s other books, so I have something to keep me busy while waiting.