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Inside Out [Hardcover]

Terry Trueman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 31 2003

Zach Wahhsted is used to hearing these brutal words. But today he isn't the only one in danger of dying.

A busy coffee shop -- a robbery gone wrong. Two gunmen, nine hostages, flash-ing lights, itchy trigger fingers. And Zach, a seemingly ordinary teenager, is caught in the middle of the mayhem.

But nobody realizes that Zach -- who has no gun and no knife -- has a mind more dangerous than any weapon.

Never what he seems and always on the edge, Zach is an unforgettable character in a new book by Terry Trueman that is filled with the same shocking power and heartbreaking compassion as his Printz Honor Book, stuck in neutral.


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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-When two teenage brothers attempt to hold up a Spokane coffee shop where Zach, 16, is waiting for his mother to bring his antipsychotic meds, he is among those held hostage. Thus begins this slender, but harrowing novel that depicts the standoff between the desperate pair and the police outside-all narrated by Zach, who is driven by impulsive outbursts, hateful voices in his head, and difficulty with processing reality. Chapters open with a brief passage that illuminates the history of his illness and suicide attempt, and interventions by his mother and psychiatrist. A phone call from the police to the robbers results in freedom for the others, but Zach, now overdue for his medicine, agrees to remain hostage. An odd bonding ensues among the troubled teens, all of whom are portrayed sympathetically. With no ammunition in their guns, the brothers are basically decent boys, scared and worried about their single mother's unemployment and cancer. Tension builds when one of them is wounded by a stray police bullet. They surrender, and Zach is reunited with his mother, his meds, and the simple comfort of a maple bar he had craved. A stark news article three months later imparts word that the unexpected hero of the crisis has committed suicide, the victim of his tragic illness. Trueman uses Zach's narration to challenge readers to feel the confusion and dark struggle of schizophrenia. The effect is disturbing, if somewhat didactic. Both the grim topic and strong language in this edgy novel suggest a mature audience.
Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. Sixteen-year-old Zach isn't frightened when two armed teenagers hold up the coffee shop where he's waiting for his mother. "The thing is," Zach says, "I'm used to seeing and hearing really weird stuff." In his second novel, the author of Stuck in Neutral (2000) takes readers inside the mind of a schizophrenic teenager. Excerpts from Zach's psychiatric records interweave with his first-person account of the dramatic robbery, offering readers the medical facts as well as Zach's personal story, especially the terror and confusion he feels when he can't distinguish between the real and the imagined. The narrative blend isn't entirely successful. The facts often feel clumsily inserted, and Zach's unreliable voice doesn't allow his story to develop fully. The shocking ending also feels tacked on. But Trueman sometimes captures moments of heartbreaking truth, and his swift, suspenseful plot will have particular appeal to reluctant readers. Suggest Angela Johnson's Humming Whispers (1995) and Lisa Rowe Fraustino's Ash (1995) for more nuanced stories about a young person living with the illness. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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All I want is a maple bar, but I don't think these kids with the guns care about what I want. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: INSIDE OUT Aug. 20 2003
Format:Hardcover
" 'Zach, you're a stupid wong-gong, a long-gone wong-gong.'
"I ignore this, but while I'm sitting here being quiet, my palms are sweaty and my throat is dry. I need to decide if this situation is real or not; I need to decide that right now. Sometimes I understand what's going on, and other times I don't have a clue. If I don't figure this one out, I could be in trouble."
According to the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression:
"Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe brain disorder which affects approximately 1 percent of the world population. Approximately 2 million people in the United States suffer from the disease in a given year. Schizophrenia is characterized by positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and markedly disorganized behavior. Negative symptoms include reduced emotional expression, social withdrawal, loss of pleasure, difficulty concentrating and/or thinking, and a lack of energy, spontaneity or initiative. Treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms and preventing psychotic relapses. Schizophrenia is usually treated with antipsychotic medication, and may be used in combination with psychosocial therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Many scientists believe that schizophrenia results from a chemical imbalance in the brain, and are investigating various neurotransmitters in determining this imbalance."
Sixteen-year-old Zach Wahhsted suffers from adolescent onset schizophrenia. He waits at the coffee shop after school each day; him mom picks him up there up at 3:30 and gives him his medication.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inside Out Is INTENSE And Eye-Opening Sept. 20 2003
Format:Hardcover
Terry Trueman has done it again! Inside Out is an amazingly intense read.
The main character, Zach is perfectly framed in a bad situation, a hold up, but nothing could be as bad as the battle Zach has going on in his mind. Zach suffers from schizophrenia and tries very hard to do what is perceived to be "appropriate" in our society.
Trueman manages to create a character in Zach that is unforgettable. This story MOVES so fast, it is over before you know it. I could not put this book down.
Trueman's ability to draw the reader in and make each character, major or minor, an important one is unparalleled.
This book is a wonderful mix of a fast-paced story with action, tense moments of anticipation, and characters that the reader can identify with immediately.
To top all of that off, Terry Trueman has alerted the public about the horrors of schizophrenia.
You have done it again Terry Trueman!
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Aug. 24 2007
Format:Paperback
Imagine being sixteen years old, waiting patiently in a coffee shop for your mother to pick you up after work. It's just another day, until two shaken teens with guns show up and take you and a number of other patrons hostage. Suddenly there are cops surrounding the building, promising SWAT teams and armored vehicles if the hostage-takers don't give up. What sort of emotions do you feel? Fear? Anger? Disbelief? Did I mention fear? Yes, if you're a typical sixteen-year old, those are most likely the emotions you would feel. But if you're Zach Wahhsted, a teenager suffering from schizophrenia, you don't feel much of anything at all.

Zach's days are pretty routine--he takes his medicine, he goes to school, he waits for his mom to pick him up and give him his second dose of medicine, and he hopes that the voices inside his head, dubbed Dirtbag and Rat, stay quiet. Zach does okay when he stays on his medicine, but when he suffers undue stress or situations outside of his control, what's reality and what's inside his head become harder to differentiate.

When Zach's held hostage by two teens caught up in trying to do the right thing for their mother, he doesn't know he should be scared. He doesn't understand that he's a victim. The only thing he knows is that he needs his medicine, needs to go home, needs to quiet Dirtbag and Rat before they talk him into attempting suicide once again.

INSIDE OUT, although a quick read, is supremely powerful. It's a glimpse into the mind of someone whose brain functions differently than our own; whose synapses don't fire on the same wavelengths ours do. It's a look into mental illness that will leave you wondering what you can do to be more tolerant and understanding. It is, in a word, simply amazing.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside Out Feb. 25 2006
By Sally - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a teacher with students who are reluctant or low-ability readers, I am always looking for "hot" books which appeal to high schoolers, especially males. This book has been a hit with both genders and readers at all ability levels. I loved it myself! The interesting part of the novel is the fact that the narrator is schizophrenic, so we see the plot events and people through his eyes. The humor and twist in perspective makes the crime plot more intriguing. The novel could also be used in a classroom which was studying the theme of teen justice since the "criminals" are teens with an overwhelming life crisis. Inside Out is a wonderful read just for pleasure for teens and adults alike, but I especially recommend it for those teens who "hate reading" and "have never read an entire book" in their lives. Multiple copies been checked out with a waiting list in my classroom.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every word in this small book is powerful and gripping. July 26 2004
By Teen Reads - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Long gong...barrelcracker... barrel...barrel o'monkeys...wong-gong."

"Time...grime...pantomime...long-gone wong-gong is a wong-gone long gong..."

These words may seem strange and convoluted to you, but Zach Wahhsted hears them in his mind day in and day out. Zach has schizophrenia, which causes him to hear voices. He finds that if he takes all of his medication on time, the voices go away and he has fewer problems getting through the day.

All Zach wants is a maple bar as he waits at the local coffee shop for his mother to bring him his meds. But before she can deliver them, Zach finds himself a hostage in the middle of a holdup gone wrong. The longer he goes without his medication, the more difficult a time he has keeping in touch with reality.

Hours after he is supposed to receive his medication, Zach agrees to stay behind as a hostage while the boys he calls Frosty and Stormy let everyone else in the coffee shop go free as part of a deal with the police. Reality begins to slip away, and the voices in Zach's head grow louder as he tries to stay alive and get out of this mess.

Complex and chilling, Terry Trueman's picture of a schizophrenic's mind alternates between lucid and hallucinogenic. Often, the reader's feelings towards Zach are as confused as Zach's thoughts. Every word in this small book is powerful and gripping. Don't be surprised if you find yourself out of breath at the end.

--- Reviewed by Carlie Kraft Webber
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside Out Is INTENSE And Eye-Opening Sept. 20 2003
By Jarrod T Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Terry Trueman has done it again! Inside Out is an amazingly intense read.
The main character, Zach is perfectly framed in a bad situation, a hold up, but nothing could be as bad as the battle Zach has going on in his mind. Zach suffers from schizophrenia and tries very hard to do what is perceived to be "appropriate" in our society.
Trueman manages to create a character in Zach that is unforgettable. This story MOVES so fast, it is over before you know it. I could not put this book down.
Trueman's ability to draw the reader in and make each character, major or minor, an important one is unparalleled.
This book is a wonderful mix of a fast-paced story with action, tense moments of anticipation, and characters that the reader can identify with immediately.
To top all of that off, Terry Trueman has alerted the public about the horrors of schizophrenia.
You have done it again Terry Trueman!
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: INSIDE OUT Aug. 20 2003
By Richie Partington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
" 'Zach, you're a stupid wong-gong, a long-gone wong-gong.'
"I ignore this, but while I'm sitting here being quiet, my palms are sweaty and my throat is dry. I need to decide if this situation is real or not; I need to decide that right now. Sometimes I understand what's going on, and other times I don't have a clue. If I don't figure this one out, I could be in trouble."
According to the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression:
"Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe brain disorder which affects approximately 1 percent of the world population. Approximately 2 million people in the United States suffer from the disease in a given year. Schizophrenia is characterized by positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and markedly disorganized behavior. Negative symptoms include reduced emotional expression, social withdrawal, loss of pleasure, difficulty concentrating and/or thinking, and a lack of energy, spontaneity or initiative. Treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms and preventing psychotic relapses. Schizophrenia is usually treated with antipsychotic medication, and may be used in combination with psychosocial therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Many scientists believe that schizophrenia results from a chemical imbalance in the brain, and are investigating various neurotransmitters in determining this imbalance."
Sixteen-year-old Zach Wahhsted suffers from adolescent onset schizophrenia. He waits at the coffee shop after school each day; him mom picks him up there up at 3:30 and gives him his medication. It is imperative that he get his twice-daily medication on time so that Rat and Dirtbag--the worst of the voices in his head that have tortured him in the past--don't come back.
Today, Zach will not get his medication on time.
"All I want is a maple bar, but I don't think these kids with the guns care about what I want."
Today, as Zach waits for his mom's arrival, a pair of teenagers, "Frosty" and "Stormy," come in to rob the coffee shop and the situation disintergrates into an armed standoff with hostages.
"I look around at everybody else in this place, and they all look scared, so I'm trying to look scared too. I mean, I guess I'm scared, but this all seems so normal to me. The thing is, I'm used to seeing and hearing really weird stuff, so this doesn't feel that strange to me at all."
As a schizophrenic, Zach tends to react differently--some would say inappropriately.
"One of the kids with a gun, the older-looking one, says, 'Nobody's gonna get hurt if you just do what we tell you!'
"I say, 'Okay.'
"He seems surprised at the sound of my voice and looks at me real fast, then away again.
"He says, 'We don't wanna hurt anybody.'
" 'Good,' I say.
"He looks at me again, 'You gotta problem?' he asks. I think he sounds mad.
" 'Yes,' I say.
"This surprises him too. 'Oh, yeah?' he asks, then he points his gun right at me. 'What's your problem?'
"I'm sort of surprised that he wants to know.
"His gun is big and black, with a wide hole in the end of the barrel. It's like a tunnel.
"I answer him as truthfully as I can. 'I'm sick, that's my problem; I take medicine two times every day, thanks for asking.' "
"The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me 'til I'm sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There's someone in my head but it's not me"
--Pink Floyd
INSIDE OUT is a tense and often comic tale that plays out inside the back room of the coffee shop and inside Zach Wahhsted's head as 3:30 comes and goes...
"I wonder if Frosty and Stormy are going to shoot me. Like in that movie Pulp Fiction. The bad guys shoot lots of people in that movie. I'm definitely NOT going to ask them about Pulp Fiction or about shooting us. I don't want to give them any bad ideas.
"I don't even want to think about getting shot, and so I try to be real quiet...
"After whispering to Stormy, Frosty says, 'Okay, everybody, we've got an announcement.'
"All of us look at Frosty, but before he can say anything else, I hear words flying out of my mouth...
" 'Frosty,' I ask, 'did you ever see that movie Pulp Fiction?' "
This story of how the kid with all the voices in his head turns out to be the voice of reason in a tense life-and-death situation is a spectacular read. And while there is great levity in the unique rapport that develops between Zach and the armed teens, beneath the hostage situation is the realization that no matter how the standoff ends, Zach will forever be hostage to those voices in his head.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensational, really... July 26 2006
By Justin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read the first three pages of "Inside Out" and knew I had to read the whole thing. The characterization is flawless, and the book gives an impeccable depiction of schizophrenia, and what's even more amazing is that the book is written in first person, giving you a more personal feel for what it might be like to not know what's real from what's fake. You finish this book with a new found empathy for people with schizophrenia, and what they have to endure.
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