MissInformation's Reviews > Inside Out

Inside Out by Terry Trueman
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's review
Jul 09, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: yabooks
Recommended for: 8th grade and up

Inside Out is a suspenseful and haunting story of a schizophrenic teen caught up in a dime store robbery. Zach is dutifully waiting for his mother when two teen boys with guns unsuccessfully try to commit a robbery, and end up taking hostages. Without the ability to interpret the gravity of the situation, Zach engages in conversations with the older of the robbers, Alan. As time progresses, Zach and Alan develop a complicated kinship. However, time progressing also means that Zach has missed his scheduled medication, and his thoughts become increasingly intense and distorted as he struggles to keep himself on an even keel. He painfully sifts the details of the interactions, trying to guess which things are real, and what words are “appropriate” for the situation. Zach suggests calling his psychiatrist to help save all three boys, and a deal is made that ends the immediate danger. Sadly Zach, as Alan realizes, “is never going to get out of what’s happening to him.”

This book is artfully made to flow smoothly and swiftly for the reader, despite the chaotic nature of Zach’s thinking. The mounting tension of the events mirrors Zach’s growing internal struggle, serving to pull the reader in on multiple levels. A visual device, screening back words at the bottom of the page, is used to give the reader a sense of the unwanted, intruding thought. Snippets of letters from his doctor and mother are included at the opening of each chapter to add insight into his history and the disease. Although Zach is not capable of emotional development, the reader palpably shares the tenderness of the growing sense of understanding on the part of Alan. The huge downfall of the book is an unnecessary and unwelcome epilogue.

This is a short book, easily read. The plot unfolds quickly and simply, and the language is not sophisticated. Zach’s struggle to order reality will be appealing to teens, and is accessible to those with a low reading level, but high interest. The story involves complex issues, and substantial references to suicide. Also, some of Zach’s repetitive thoughts refer to slang words for penis.

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