Outside In by Chrissie Keighery

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Outside In is a series of interrelated short stories centring on a group of friends, though it reads as a novel. Each chapter is about a different person in the group, and the things which they’re dealing with as well as how they feel about each other. It reflects well how different the way in which people see you is to the way you see yourself, as well as being a teenager and finding out who you are.

Outside In was a quick and easy read, but it was also written really well – beautiful in its simplicity. Each character was well-developed, each struggled with their own issues, and as well as each story being separate, the entire novel fit together seamlessly as a whole (reminiscent of Town by James Roy, though Outside In seems written mainly for younger teenage girls).

I was slightly confused through this novel by how old the characters were. It’s never stated (at least I don’t think so), and the way they speak and behave and some of the issues tackled in it made them seem 13 or 14, whereas other themes seemed more suited to older teenagers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and I think it’ll appeal to both younger and older teenagers, mainly girls.

Outside In covered a lot of topics, and had a number of central characters. It’s a wonderful novel, but I felt it would have been even stronger if the scope of it – the themes covered and how many people it focuses on – had been narrowed a bit. I’d recommend this to girls in the 13-15 age bracket, particularly those who aren’t super-keen readers – it’s an easy read, but also beautiful written, and well worth picking up.
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