Genre(s): Dystopian/ Romance
Length: 300 pages
Publisher: Adrenalin Books
Promoted as a post-apocalyptic romance thriller, Outside has all of the elements of a high-caliber young adult dystopia.
Outside brings us a future world where societies have to be protected by perimeters. While it is not entirely clear at the beginning what lurks outside the protective wall, it is clear that those inside it feel privileged and safe. When our main character, Riley, finds out her sister has been killed, she realizes that even the perimeter can’t keep her family safe. The murder suspect is an outsider who broke into their compound and killed the pre-teen. Devastated, Riley realizes that the only way to bring this criminal to justice is to leave the safety of the perimeter and go after him. With her friend Luc by her side, they decide the dangers are worth it if it means avenging her sister.
With a thrilling pace that doesn’t let up, Outside is a very engaging read. Most books have the turning-point moment (the point of no return) in chapter two or three, but Boland inserts Riley’s sisters death within the first few pages. From there we are whisked away at a heart-pumping pace. While I liked the fact that Boland wastes no time in getting the plot started, I often found myself wishing for some world-building as we moved forward. Readers are not given an explanation for the current new-world society at the start, which is fine, but we also aren’t given many visuals of the world inside the perimeter or much chance to learn the culture either. The best dystopians manage to weave in world-building so seamlessly that you feel both immersed and engaged at the same time. This book had me engaged, but I wasn’t completely immersed. That being said, I was not bored or compelled to put down the book. It seems that if one must chose between breakneck pace and a lush landscape, one might opt for pace. Not all readers will be pleased, however.
The book is a good read and well worth the 99 cents. It will grab your attention and whisk you away for several hours of suspense, thrills, and romance. Teens and adults alike will enjoy Ms. Boland’s tale, giving it high commercial appeal. I’m not sure I loved the book enough to purchase the sequel, but I know many readers felt differently and happily went on to gobble up the series.
4 out of 5 stars
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THE REVIEWERKatie French is the author of The Breeders Series, a young adult dystopian adventure and other stories. Sign up for notifications, follow her @KatielFrench or like her on Facebook.