Title: Inside Out
Author: Maria V Snyder
Publisher/Year: Harlequin 4/1/10
Series: Insider #1
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.
I have to say that when you have a synopsis like what’s above, it leaves you to assume that you’ll exceed expectations on what you read. That’s the case here since i didn’t have much to go on aside from this being a dystopia and there’s a rebellion looming.
I’ve come to have an appreciation for stories like this that have their societies in an enclosed space – with divisions and routines all in place to ‘keep order’ and to make sure that people don’t question what they’ve been told and to just do it unless they want to be expunged (or recycled as they say in this one). In this series, we get that same thing – with the Scrubs – the general pop so to speak all living on the lower levels of the space – working the maintenance and menial jobs to keep things functioning. Trella’s job is to clean the ducts since she’s small enough and can do it – and the ducts need to ensure that clean air is cycling and the heat is working properly etc. Of course – with all that time to herself, she’s going to think about things a little more, and even gets a nickname of ‘queen of the pipes’ which leads her down a path of the unknown since it’s gotten her recognized.
Along with Trella, we meet Cog – who’s her best friend/brother type whom she’s grown up with. He’s protective of her and really just wants to help sort things out to make their life as best as possible. He’s the one that introduces Trella to Broken Man who’s a prophet of sorts and that’s where things go awry. See – there’s this thing called ‘The Gateway’ which is supposed to be a way out of The Inside and Broken man seems to think that Trella is the one that can help them find it and get out. It’s because of this request that life as they all knew it changes.
Trella meets Riley who’s an Upper and who becomes a character that i really like and can’t wait to get to know more about. he’s not your typical Upper in the sense that he follows the rules and has this air of entitlement as Trella assumed. He not only helps her when he doesn’t have to but he sees things in her that others don’t and that of course leads to the hopes of a romance in my eyes.
Throughout this story we see a plan form – with Trella and the others trying to figure out how to evade security to find locked files and passwords and allies to get to The Gateway – all the while wondering who they can trust – if they can trust anyone – and what that’ll inevitably mean. No one knows if the Gateway is even real – and what’s on the outside and i think that’s the twist that we all really want to learn while reading.
The characters are believable and really likeable – aside from the Travas (the security), there’s really no one that you can’t like here and you want to root for everyone to succeed. There’s the hint of romance without the expected love triangle, and that’s something that’s so welcome in a YA dystopia. The one thing that made me sad was an unexpected death of sorts – that was one that i didn’t want to see happen and i’m still in denial about – but we’ll see what happens in the next installment. anyhow – a good intro to the series and you should check it out. Enjoy!