Outside In suffers from the same page-turning excitement The Hunger Games suffers from. I say ‘suffers’ because I suffered when I had to put it down to do normal things like eat and sleep and work. It begins a few short weeks after the end of Inside Out, and for one thing, it’s a totally awesome name for the book. Not only does it match its predecessor, but it’s actually accurate to the plot. Something from Outside wants in. How fucking sinister is that?
There seemed to be a lot more action in this novel. I read it at break neck speed and I think I may have skimmed a bit because I was so keen to find out what happens next, so I did confuse myself a little a times. Luckily, Snyder has this way of summarising, and even if you think you’re a little lost she’ll pull you back on to the right path. Trella gets a lot of injuries and travels to a lot of places, but there’s still room enough for a second rebellion, developing relationships, betrayal and heartache.
Trella’s a great heroine to follow. Her relationship with Riley is totally realistic. Can I just smoosh those two together? Their relationship problems are not entirely from the outside influence: it’s their own fucked-up-ed-ness that leads to the issues within the relationship. That’s a realistic portrayal, even when it’s in a dystopian setting. Trella grows as a person in this novel, too. She learns to be less self-centred, to take responsibility, and the most amazing thing: she learns to give people second chances. That’s a pretty huge thing for Trella to overcome, but she does it slowly over the course of the novel. It’s a pleasure watching her.
The politics in this novel has matured greatly from Inside Out. In the first novel, it’s pretty much scrubs vs uppers. In this novel, it’s pretty much everyone vs everyone. You don’t know who to trust, you don’t know if someone you’ve trusted will betray you. It’s very intriguing and tangled, woven together in a web of politics and a belief system that runs akin to religion.
While I am a fan of The Hunger Games, this dystopian is nothing like that. It’s far more similar to Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Glow. I think if you’re a fan of that novel (as am I), you will most likely enjoy Outside In. I am sad it was only ever a duology, as I believe a whole entire series could have been made out of this concept.