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Inside Out [Paperback]

Maria V. Snyder
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2010 Harlequin Teen
Keep Your Head Down.

Don't Get Noticed.

Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.


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About the Author

Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

A vibration rippled through my body. I awoke in semi-darkness, unsure of my location. Reaching out with my hands, I felt smooth sides arching up and in. My fingers touched overhead. Pipe.

A distant roar caused unease, but with sleep fogging my mind, I couldn't quite grasp its significance. The pipe's vibrations increased as the thunder grew louder. Water. Coming toward me. Fast.

I scrambled in the narrow space. My bare feet slipped on the sleek surface of the pipe as I advanced toward a faint square of bluelight emanating from the open hatch. It seemed an impossible distance to reach.

Cogon's voice in full lecture mode echoed in my mind as the water rushed closer. "Someday, Trella. You'll screw up and there will be bits of you raining out of the showers."

I reached the hatch and dove headfirst through the opening, convinced the water rushed at my heels. Landing on the hard floor, I shot to my feet and slammed the door shut. When I finished sealing the hatch, the whole pipe shuddered, then the vibrations calmed as the water returned to its normal flow. The metal cooled under my fingers, and I leaned my sweaty forehead against it, catching my breath.

That was close. Soft bluelight glowed all around the water-filtering machinery. Hour eighteen: I knew by the rush of water. The upper workers adhered to a strict schedule.

I checked my tool belt to make sure nothing was broken and my flashlight still worked. Then I climbed from the ductwork and made my way to level two by taking a shortcut through an air conduit. Traveling through the pipes and air shafts, I avoided seeing my fellow scrubs. But my peace and quiet ended too soon as I opened the vent, swung down and landed in the middle of a crowded corridor, scattering scrubs.

Someone knocked into me. "Watch it!"

"Come to mingle with the lowly scrubs, your highness?" A mocking bow.

Used to curses and hostile glares, I shrugged. The mass of people in the tight corridor jostled and pushed me along. Life in the lower two levels teamed with scrubs at all hours of the week. They moved from work to their barracks and back to work. We were called scrubs because rust and dust were the twin evils of Inside and must be kept at bay; however, scrubs also maintained the network of mechanical systems which kept both uppers and lowers alive.

The scrubs shoved. They frowned. They complained. I hated every one of them. Except Cog. No one hated Cog. He listened. Empathized with tales of misery. Made people smile. A rare occurrence—as rare as a person like Cogon.

I headed toward the cafeteria in Sector G2. It stayed open around the clock. As far as I could tell, Inside's length and width equaled a square with four levels. All constructed with sheet metal. Overall measurements, by my calculations—for reasons unknown Inside's exact dimensions and specifications were classified—were two thousand meters wide by two thousand meters long by twenty-five meters high. Each level was divided into nine areas.

If I drew a square with two lines across and two lines down inside it, I would end up with nine smaller squares. The first row's three squares would be labeled A, B and C, the next row D, E and F, and the last row G, H and I. With this configuration, there were four Quadrants A, C, G and I, which were Inside's corners, and five Sectors B, D, E, F and H. That was the basic map of each level. Boring, unoriginal, and predictable to say the least.

The cafeteria and dining room for the lower two levels encompassed all of Sector G2. The number two meant it was on the second level. Even a four-hundred-week-old scrub couldn't get lost. Hydroponics resided directly below in Sector G1—the lowest level—making it easy for the food growers to send vegetables to the kitchen scrubs.

The hot, musty smell of people packed together greeted me at the cafeteria's door as the noise of them slammed into me. I paused, deciding if eating was worth being in the same room with so many scrubs. My stomach growled, overruling my reluctance.

The line to get food remained perpetually long. I took a tray and waited, ignoring the stares. Most scrubs changed from their work clothes to wear the drab green off-duty jumpers before eating, but I was scheduled to scour an air duct at hour twenty. So I remained in my formfitting uniform. The slippery dark blue fabric covered every inch of skin except for my hands, feet and head. The material helped me slide through the tight heating ducts when I cleaned them. And I didn't care if I was the only person not wearing moccasins. My mocs were back at my bunk in Sector F1. With so many scrubs around to clean, the floor didn't even have a chance to become dirty.

Pushing my tray along the metal shelf, I pointed to what I wanted from three different choices. The big containers held either green-, yellow- or brown-colored slop, and they all smelled like moldy vegetables. The food was easy to prepare, easy to cook and best of all easy to reuse. I didn't even bother reading the names of the dishes. If the kitchen staff called it a casserole, a quiche, a stew or a soup, it all tasted the same. A pulpy, leafy spinach flavor dominated the other ingredients lurking in the recipe.

To be fair to the cooks, hydroponics didn't offer much in the way of variety. Mass production of the hardier vegetables had replaced diversity, and there was only so much a person can do with mutton. I didn't want to be fair, though. I just wanted something different to eat.

After being served, I found an empty seat, and let the discord of multiple conversations roll over me.

"Where've you been?" a voice asked over the din. I looked up at Cog's broad face as he pressed into a seat next to mine.

"Working," I said.

"You were supposed to be done at hour ten."

I shrugged. "Got to make sure the pipes are squeaky clean for the uppers."

"Yeah. Like it would take you that long," Cog said. "You were sleeping in the pipes again."

"Don't start."

"You're going to get hurt—"

"Who'd care? One less scrub to feed."

"Grumpy, aren't we? What's the matter, Trella? Get wet?" Cog smirked, but couldn't hold the expression for more than a second. He was soon smiling, unaffected by my mood.

"Shouldn't you be changing a fan belt or something?" I asked, trying to be nasty, but Cog ignored me, knowing it was all an act—although with any other scrub, I wouldn't be acting.

He nodded to scrubs passing our table, calling out hellos and sharing his smile.

"How's the shower head in washroom E2?" Cog asked one man.

"Much better," the man replied.

I had no interest in mundane details so I tuned out their conversation. Instead, I contemplated my only friend. Too big to fit into the pipes, Cog worked with the maintenance crew and did odd jobs. Most of it busy work, just like scrubbing. Too many idle hands had been deemed dangerous by the upper workers.

Scrubs also labored in the recycling plant, the infirmary, the care facility, hydroponics, the kitchen, the livestock yard, solid-waste facility or in the waste-water treatment plant. Most scrubs were assigned their jobs. A Care Mother noted the skills and aptitudes of each of her charges and recommended positions. My smaller size automatically matched me as a cleaning scrub. It suited me just fine.

"When's your next shift?" Cog asked.

"One hour."

"Good. Someone wants to meet you." Cog's eyes held an avid glow.

"Not another prophet. Come on, Cog, you know better."

"But this time—"

"Probably just like the last time, and the time before and the five times before that. All talk. No action, pushing false hope. You know they have to be employed by the upper officials to keep the scrubs from rioting."

"Trell, you're jaded. Besides, he asked for you by name. Said you were the only one who could help him." Cog seemed to think this divine calling should impress me.

"I have better things to do with my time." I picked up my tray, intent on leaving.

"Like sleeping in the pipes? Pretending you're all alone, instead of crammed in here with everyone else?"

I scowled at him. My fiercest frown, which usually resulted in some breathing room.

Cog stepped closer. "Come on. Hear the guy out."

Again, his face glowed with the conviction of a true believer. Poor Cog, I thought. How can he set himself up for another crushing disappointment? How can I turn him down? Especially when he was the only one who remained my friend despite my abuse. And who'd watched out for me, growing up in the care facility together.

"Okay. I'll listen, but no promises," I said. Perhaps I could expose this prophet as a fraud to keep Cog from becoming too involved.

Dumping our trays in the wash bins, we left the cafeteria. Cog led the way through the main corridors of the second level toward the stairs in Quad A2.

The narrow hallways of Inside had been constructed with studded metal walls painted white. Only Pop Cops' posters, spewing the latest propaganda, scrub schedules and the list of proper conduct could decorate common area walls on levels one and two. At least the massive bundles of greenery in every section of Inside helped break up the monotony. Although, if the plants weren't needed to clean the air, I was sure the Pop Cops would remove those, too.

I would never have had the patience to fight my way along the main paths, but Cog's thick body left a wake behind him. I followed along in this space, walking without effort and without touching anyone. A moment of peace.

We descended the wide metal steps. Cold stabbed the soles of my feet and I wished I had worn my mocs. Bare feet were useful in the air ducts, but not in the main throughways.

Cog led me to Sector B1. This prophet showed some intelligence. Sector B1 was filled with laundry machines. Rows upon rows of washers and dryers lined up like soldiers waiting for orders. The laundry was the most populated area, it had the largest number of workers, and every ...


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars Aug. 12 2014
By SIKBookReviewer TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
What you're in for: First person narration. Scrubs. Prophets. Population Control Police (aka Pop Cops). Upper levels and lower levels. Sacrifices. Women in charge are called "Sir"! Hope. Living in fear. Surprises. More surprises. Unique and captivating story. Torture. Death.

My thoughts: Unique, with unexpected twists and turns. It's not often lately that I read a truly unique dystopian novel. This was refreshing. And the fact that it was able to surprise me made it even better.
However, certain other aspects could have been improved upon, such as character development, the romance (I mean, the story totally just blew off Trella's first kiss like it was nothing; wasn't feeling any feels when it came to the romance), and a couple plot holes.
I did enjoy the book as a whole, though, and I look forward to reading the sequel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Dec 27 2013
By Mattise
Format:Kindle Edition
This is one of the best Young Adult books out there. The story is unique and well written. The main character is realistic relatable. I can't wait to read the sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Jan. 26 2010
Format:Paperback
Trella is a scrub - but she's not your average scrub. She has one friend and prefers to spend her time in the pipes rather than with the overcrowded living quarters of the other scrubs. They're forced to clean the Inside for the Uppers. Trella doesn't know much about the world, but when her friend comes to her and says there's someone who wants to meet her, she's suspicious.

What she discovers is something she never imagined. Unknowingly, she starts a revolution. Now, people who once scorned her are helping her complete tasks, steal food, and giving her valuable information, all for the hopes of a better life. Everyone wants to know what's on the Outside.

Everywhere Trella goes, danger follows. The Pop Cops have captured her best friend. He's sentenced to die if she doesn't get to him in time. They're watching her every move and questioning her acquaintances.

Plus, she doesn't know who to trust. She's going by her instincts, but the last time a rebellion occurred, the leaders were betrayed. Trella's hoping she trusts the right people and, with time running out, hoping that they find something that makes all their sacrifices worthwhile.

With INSIDE OUT, Maria V. Snyder leads readers on an edge-of-your-seat science fiction adventure ride filled with twists and turns you'll never see coming. Snyder has quickly become a favorite author of mine. I can't wait to see what she and Trella have in store for us in the next book of this series.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maria V. Snyder does it again! March 14 2011
Format:Paperback
I have been itching to read this book since I heard about it. Maria Snyder is one of my favourite authors and she definitely delivered with Inside Out! Trella is a very likable character and I was drawn into her world of pipes and hidden spaces until the last page.

In the future that is Trella's present, she lives as a "scrub" and has the job of cleaning the air, heating, and water pipes that run throughout the world she knows as Inside. She is a "lower" part of the labour class of people born into service for the "uppers" - those who control Inside.

Her best and only friend Cog is always hoping for an escape, something beyond Inside. Trella knows that hoping only leads to pain, so she takes on a dangerous task to prove to him, and to herself, that there is nothing out there.

The character and plot development were well paced and the ending was satisfying while still leaving room for more.

If you haven't read this yet you are missing out on a fantastic dystopian novel.

I review Outside In on my blog here: [...]
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