Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: Insider #1
Date of Publication: April 1st, 2010
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
1. Inside Out
2. Outside In
But it here
I'm going to start by explaining the setting a little. Trella is a scrub, like it says in the blurb. Scrubs are living in the lower Levels, and thus could be referred to as "Lowers". They do all the manual labor, cleaning pipes, cooking, waste handling, maintenance, and so on. When a baby is born in the lower levels, its parents hand it over to the Care facility, where a Care Mother will take care of it along with nine other children. The Care Mother chooses the name, the profession and is in charge of the education of "her" children.
Trella is small of stature, so her Care Mother chose "cleaning pipes" as Trella's profession. She has to robb through air vents to get rid of clogs and such. It suits Trella just fine, since she's a bit of a loner and hates every Scrub except for her best friend Cog, who's nice to everyone and who she grew up with (they were raised by the same Care Mother). Now, enter a man who claims to be from the Upper Levels, calls himself Broken Man and preaches about the ominous Gateway, which may or not exist. But if it does, it is said to be a way out of Inside. Trella doesn't really believe him, but sets out to find something Broken Man needs anyway ...
I liked Inside Out. A well crafted world, characters that are likeable enough, and everything is most certainly not like it seems. Inside is a police state, more or less, ruled by an Upper family which overthrew the other families years (or centiweeks, as it's called in Inside-speak) ago. There is action, it kept me on the tips of my toes, and especially the revelation about Gateway is somehow very heart breaking in my opinion.
However, I can't award Inside Out five stars for the simple reason that I felt the beginning was too slow. I put the book aside for a while, and only returned to it two weeks later. Granted, I finished it in one sitting, but still. Also, the plot involved a lot of luck and chance in my opinion - and I can't say whether that was intended or whether Snyder just didn't know how else to resolve it.
But it here