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Letters from the Inside

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  4,676 ratings  ·  383 reviews
The relationship between two teenage girls who become acquainted through letters intensifies as their correspondence reveals some of the terrible problems of their lives.
Paperback, 146 pages
Published 2001 by Pan MacMillan (first published 1991)
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,676 ratings  ·  383 reviews


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Trisha
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning. Although I agree with many of the reviews that it was hard to tell the voices of the girls at times (wait, was that Mandy...oh no, Tracey) I didn't identify with either girl. I haven't committed any crimes (and don't have that rage) but I wouldn't have continued the pen pal friend ship after the secret was revealed.

And yet, the book just sucked me in. And then, it was done.

An ending that leaves you wondering what could have been. I think, like many reviews, you can guess what happened.
...more
Amore Duzenski
May 05, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a bit disappointed. I mean, I thought this book was going to be interesting and revealing. It is revealing but... woah, you can tell a guy wrote this book. The language is really immature at times. I cannot believe that some adults look at kids in this way. I would want to be seen as something more. I have more to offer the world than my body. I have a mind, I have goals, I have opinions.
Jenny Delandro
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
The original Cliffhanger. I loved this story completely though I think a lot of it is because when I read this book I was blown away by the unexpected ending and not just that it was unexpected but just that it left you wishing like anything Marsden would have written just one more letter.....

The combination of letter writers/ charaacters in this book was also interesting, both from vastly different backgrounds you somehow get the feeling their lives marry up fairly closely despite the extremet
...more
Maureen
Mar 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, australian
Argh! Another frustrating teen book that ends with the story wide open. Mandy and Tracey are pen-pals (do pen-pals even exist anymore?). They have very different lives but are tied together by a feeling of connection. That is all any 16 year old really wants, right? A connection. Worth reading but just don't expect it to wrap up neat and pretty in the end.
Appy
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this book about four years ago for class, and i absolutely loved it. Although there are those "flaws" people mention of both the girls being troubled, "no teenager [sounding] like that", not many kids caring about letters, I find that mentality to be at a fault. Yes, some teens they view adults like that. Some teens really do have issues at home. And most of all, receiving letters is one of the most exciting things now, BECAUSE we're all used to email. I was around these girls ...more
Cindee
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two girls started writing to each other: one who seemed to have the perfect family and the other, a regular one. But as the letters progressed, they find out more and more about each other - dark, little secrets about one another. The one with the perfect family... Has no family. She's in a maximum security prison with no one to talk to. Why she was in there, it was never revealed and Marsden drops little hints but he basically leaves it up to us, the audience. The ending was incomplete but in i ...more
Sarah Myers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chloé ♡
This is a short book, where two teenage girls send letters to one another and become close friends.
I thought this was going to be a very light read and I was surprised when the dark theme of domestic violence was introduced. I was glad to see this though, as I thought it added a deeper dimension to the book.

At the start of the book, I found myself having to check whether Tracey or Mandy was narrating, as both characters seemed quite similar. This issue disappeared as Tracey's story was revealed.
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Regina Andreassen
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars for me. I was captivated by this book. I started it today and I just couldn’t stop reading it, it was short so that helped me to finish it in about 90 minutes, or perhaps two hours. Letters From The Inside is emotive, compelling, and thought provoking. The denouement left me with a great feeling of sadness. I was left with two big questions and all I have are possible answers, but somehow I don’t want to have the certainty of what happened. I definitely recommend this book.
Jazz
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THAT. ENDING.THO!!!!
JOHN, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE ME *FEEL* THINGS!
Leon
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really thought-provoking read. Didn't expect this much depth from such a short story.
Maz
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book to read on the weekend thinking "140ish pages... nice and short... maybe I can recommend it to my Year 7s". Maybe not. I had several issues with this book. Firstly, I didn't like the ending (I hate not knowing what happened to so-and-so, but maybe that's just me). Secondly, I don't know how well this book translates across to the world of 2012 teendom. For example, some of the dialogue was quite old school/amusing. Did teenagers (or anyone, for that matter) really use the w ...more
Maggie Wiggins
Jul 29, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Here are the issues I had with this book:
-The two main characters have virtually indistinct voices, and similar enough situations that it's confusing trying to remember who's talking. One is supposed to be quiet and shy but since they're pen pals, the author chose to make her write...shyly...It comes off as weird and phony.

-The book is very eighties--not that that's a bad thing. But the piece isn't period enough to be historical fiction, and if you're not reading closely, or if you're a teen lea
...more
Aimee
Nov 07, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was a very creepy story and I don't recommend reading the entire thing Halloween night (or any night). The book was only 146 pages and it left a lot of questions unanswered, which I sometimes like, but there was too much confusion at the end of this book. John Marsden is an Australian author and the story took place in Australia (which wasn't officially established so, we had to do some googling).
Description from inside the book~ "Two teenage girls. An innocent beginning to friendship. Two co
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Moe
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do I begin? I want to hug Tracey. I want to cry for everyone who has been cut off from something completely. We all just need a friend. What we really need, in times of distress, is a connection. One from the outside world. Mandy was Tracey's connection. Tracey would've never made it in A-block if she didn't have that someone living the shredded soul of her's that never matured. The part that grew a little for Nana, but diminished when she died. The one part of her soul that grew once agai ...more
Shea
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a young girl who moved around a lot, I did a lot of letter writing. I thought that the "voices" of the two girls in the beginning were really similar, however, once Trace came clean with her story the "voices" were actually very distinct. Trace's vernacular is clearly rougher than Mandy's.

The story left me chilled and somewhat shocked. I didn't see it coming. I personally feel that Steve went off the handle, destroyed Mandy's entire family, and probably committed suicide. I think Mandy's frie
...more
Mike
This was going to be four stars for most of the book, until I got to the ending. It's not that the ending itself was especially good, but it made me realize how much I liked the rest of the book. It was incredibly risky decision to end the book the way Marsden did, because it essentially only works if you're already very invested in these characters and riveted in the story. I actually got nervous toward the end, which made me realize how much I cared about these characters, which very rarely ha ...more
Nita Eyster
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, mystery
This is a quick read, that will stick with you. Two girls (complete strangers) become penpals. Their letters are filled with basic teenage girl life, and then they are NOT. What makes a friendship?? These two have to actually "work" at being friends. They each learn to trust a virtual stranger with their inner truths. Even though this takes place in Australia, it showed the universal themes in all teenage girls (or grown girls). The ending kicked me in the gut...and I am still thinking about it.
MΔRI JΔNE
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are no words in the English alphabet (or any alphabet that I'm familiar with) that I can use to fabricate a review that can describe how I feel about this book.

But actions speak louder than words, so here is a pretty accurate reaction of mine upon finishing the novel:

description
Andrew
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book to break the heart of a thriller writer who has to work himself into a logistical froth trying to have enough "happening" in his novel to generate enough suspense to connect with readers. Nothing happens in this book - two girls writing letters. Just one letter after another. No spies, no assassins, no terrorists. And the suspense... is excruciating.

This is also a book to break the heart of a reader who reads it with their imagination and empathy fully engaged. Watch out.
Linnea Karlberg
I was expecting a short, fun, revealing read.. a little disappointed. Just doesn't feel worth the time at all.


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Xenia Girdler
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at the local book store this morning - along with a few other Marsden novels. Ostensibly for my kids to read. A few hours later and I have finished Letters from the Inside. I can't wait for my eldest to read it too. It's well crafted; the voices of the main characters distinct and rich.
Jaclyn
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it a long time ago and must have really liked it, as I currently find myself thinking about parts of the book, ten to fifteen years later. I want to re-read it because I forget a lot the details.
Manda (The Glittery Nerd)
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This is the first time I've ever ahead a book in one day, it was really short though only 142 pages.

I loved this book. I wanted to know more then the story the two girls were telling. Especially when it ended, I wish I knew what happened..
Linnéa Söderberg
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Giselle Luna
Sep 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I really liked this book..but the ending was SO disappointed
Btw, I don't think that this is a bad book.
Lesley Ellis
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m still so frustrated by the ending! I just want firm answers!! What did Tracey do?!?!
Kate
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘LETTERS FROM THE INSIDE’ By John Marsden
I recently read ‘Letters from the Inside’ (1991) as one of two novels on a long flight. Throughout the text Marsden described courage, friendship, crime and mystery that creates the ultimate cliff hanger. He depicted an unlikely friendship that is forged between two dissimilar fifteen-year-old girls, something very relatable to your intended audience. However, the mystery of this novel took me on a ride until the very last letter.
Mandy and Tracey become
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Hanna
May 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You probably won't enjoy this book. I felt like it was a burden to read.

But let's not get to negative. I normally don't like fictional diary/letters types of book because no one remembers their lifes so cleary as it seems that these characters do and the letter/diary format just feels forced but luckily I felt like this book embraced the format. It's a letter book that's just that. The letter element is important to the story.

Another postive thing is the plottwist. It did suprise me and they hi
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See also: John Marsden.

His first book, So Much To Tell You, was published in 1987. This was followed by Take My Word For It, a half-sequel written from the point of view of another character. His landmark Tomorrow series is recognized as the most popular book series for young adults ever written in Australia. The first book of this series, Tomorrow When The War Began, has been reprinted 26 times i
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