‘Outside’ by Sarah Ann Juckes ⭐⭐⭐

OUTSIDE

Here’s the thing about being Inside.  Ain’t no one believes that they are.

Ele has never been Outside, but she knows it exists – she just has to prove it.

Her whole world is Inside. Trapped with her books and the Others and Him.She has never seen a tree or felt rain but all that’s about to change. Ele’s getting out for good.

Thank you to Penguin Random House UK Children’s, Netgalley and Sarah Ann Jukes for the chance to read and review this novel.

This book was a dark, twisted, heartbreaking story of abuse, yet also one of strength, resilience and triumph. The story is told by Ele, a young girl who remembers no other life than the single room she shares with her friends, the Others, who aren’t quite like her and talk in their own language. They’re all held captive by a frightening man known only as Him who sends their food down a pipe and visits once a week. She did have a brother, Zeb, but he is gone now, taken away by Him, and Ele knows she must escape before she meets the same fate. But before she can she must prove to the Others that Outside does exist and isn’t just pictures in her books so that they will go with her.

I found it a little confusing to understand what was going on at first but soon things became clearer, although like Ele we don’t get to see the full picture until the end. The language in this story is very simplistic, like a young child would speak even, which feels authentic when the narrator is someone who has always lived in isolation and never attended school. She also has a juvenile and often innocent way of seeing the world that is telling of her captivity, like how she thinks Outside will be full of things such as dragons and other creatures from the fairy tales that helped her survive.

I enjoyed this book as soon as I started reading but part 2 was when I found Ele’s story even more compelling. I felt protective of her as she was so vulnerable, alone and confused. When Willow and Ezra were introduced I was glad the author chose to write these two particular characters for the unique qualities they each offered Ele. This part was also where the book became more uplifting and was a very transformative time for Ele as she learned even more truths and opened up about what she’d gone through. Though the subject matter was at times difficult, it was written in such a way that it never felt too heavy and I would say this was more a tale of courage, hope and kindness. It was a quick read for me both because of the way it was written and because I couldn’t put it down. A perfect read for anyone who enjoys Young Adult Fiction or who enjoyed the book Room.

Out January 3rd 2019.

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