15 September 2009

outside IN

by Chrissie Keighery

Hardie Grant Egmont. Australian, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $16.95

This is a book that I didn’t want to end. Unfortunately the last pages came very quickly and I was left wanting more.

outside IN is the story of six friends. They are the “cool” kids - beautiful Jordan, faithful Lee, funny Meredith, talented Cecilia, awkward Sam and popular stud Jack. These four girls and two boys look out for each other but never really seeing each other’s problems and difficulties.

Each chapter of outside IN is narrated by one of the six. The simple story of teenagers growing up is viewed differently by each character but their life has a certain sameness, gliding along smoothly, with just a few bumps along the way.

Jordan is struggling with her parent’s divorce. Lee is always coming off second best to Jordan. Meredith covers up her past by continually being the clown. Cecilia is a dedicated and talented ballerina but no-one sees the secret she keeps. Sam is the awkward boy who follows behind Jack but wants to step out on his own. Jack has never really thought about all the girls he gets and hurts … until now.

But there is one more narrator. Interspersed between the other chapters is the “no name person” perspective where the anonymous narrator shares her thoughts about the popular six, gradually revealing more of herself to the reader at the same time.

You try to settle in your shadow life
Don’t know where you end, or begin
But you wonder, sometimes, if they feel it too?
Inside out and outside in.

A wonderful book for both boys and girls alike – one which will encourage them to open their eyes to the surroundings of their own lives. This is a universal story. All seven characters could easily be found in any high school in Australia. outside IN is definitely destined for schools reading lists!

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