Trella is a scrub. Being a scrub means living in the overcrowded lower levels, working ten hour shifts to keep Inside clean, never speaking to any Uppers, not knowing your real family, and being constantly monitored by the Pop Cops (Population Control).
Trella’s job is to clean the heating and air ducts, earning her nickname “The Queen of the Pipes.” She has a hard time relating to the other scrubs because she thinks of them as mindless sheep that aren’t worth her time or concern. She’s even taken to sleeping in the pipes she knows so well. Her only friend is Cogon, a boy she’s grown up with, and when he begs her to meet a Prophet, named Broken Man, she reluctantly agrees.
Broken Man is yet another Prophet preaching about Gateway and Outside. He says he needs The Queen of Pipes to help him find them. Trella agrees to the mission, but only to prove that Broken Man is a fraud, and spare Cogon from the pain that comes from lost hopes.
As Trella starts looking for Gateway, however, she finds herself not only daring to believe, but also inspiring others to rebel against their captors. She meets many surprising people along the way, including a cute Upper boy, named Riley, who challenges everything she thought she knew about Uppers, and begins to open herself up to friendship, trust, and hope.
Inside Out is a sci-fi thriller full of action, adventure, a little romance, and a lot of pipes! Although I found the settings pretty difficult to visualize (I need a map), I really enjoyed the story of Trella and the mystery of Inside. I found myself wondering who was in control of this self-sustaining cube and what had happened to Outside that made this life necessary. The clever plot twists kept me engaged, and actually made my mouth drop open at one point. I felt like the relationship between Trella and Riley was a little forced, but I still loved their characters and was glad to see them develop a relationship. The ending was a complete cliffhanger and I’m excited to see where the story goes in the next book Outside In.
Parents should know: This book has a lot of "minor" curse words. It also has some kissing, and some talk about sexual things, though mostly as an explanation of life in Inside. Additionally it has quite a bit of violence. For the full content review, go to Inside Out on Parental Book Reviews.