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Outside

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The Proof of the Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. In this dark and compelling debut novel, Ele's strong and heartbreakingly optimistic voice shines through, revealing an important lesson about The Proof of the Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. In this dark and compelling debut novel, Ele's strong and heartbreakingly optimistic voice shines through, revealing an important lesson about the power of stories to save lives.


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The Proof of the Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. In this dark and compelling debut novel, Ele's strong and heartbreakingly optimistic voice shines through, revealing an important lesson about The Proof of the Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. In this dark and compelling debut novel, Ele's strong and heartbreakingly optimistic voice shines through, revealing an important lesson about the power of stories to save lives.

30 review for Outside

  1. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    This was one of those odd and harrowing sort of books. I have messy feelings about this one. And it is DARK. It's basically about abused feral kids locked away in a room with zero knowledge of the Outside. I've seen news stories of this so it was interesting to read a fictional version. It's terrifying and compelling...like seeing this kids raised on fear and left in filth. The style is a bit different too, with Ele having such limited language she makes up a lot of terms for things and basicall This was one of those odd and harrowing sort of books. I have messy feelings about this one. And it is DARK. It's basically about abused feral kids locked away in a room with zero knowledge of the Outside. I've seen news stories of this so it was interesting to read a fictional version. It's terrifying and compelling...like seeing this kids raised on fear and left in filth. The style is a bit different too, with Ele having such limited language she makes up a lot of terms for things and basically lives in a fairytale world in her head to cope. I did fall apart a little with the logic behind her knowledge. What she knew vs what she didn't never seemed to have much rhyme or reason? How could she read? Why didn't she know the word for clothes but she had a fairy tale book? She'll use a metaphor for swimming but doesn't know what a lightbulb is. So I found it disorientating tbh. Definitely a compelling read. Simplistic and childlike in a way that made it even more creepy what Ele went through.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie Parks

    This was such an authentic read. I can only hope this wasn't based on any real experiences. The story feels so real and heartfelt. Even the language is very subject appropriate. Sarah Ann Juckes' prose is so lyrical and addictive. And because of the main narrator Ele's imagination, the story reads almost more like a sci-fi than horror. It is more of a character development rather than an action plot, though. So don't expect the usual Hollywood chase down the road at the end. Thank you NetGalley fo This was such an authentic read. I can only hope this wasn't based on any real experiences. The story feels so real and heartfelt. Even the language is very subject appropriate. Sarah Ann Juckes' prose is so lyrical and addictive. And because of the main narrator Ele's imagination, the story reads almost more like a sci-fi than horror. It is more of a character development rather than an action plot, though. So don't expect the usual Hollywood chase down the road at the end. Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Schizanthus

    This is a story where the less you know before you read it the better so while I’d usually provide content warnings before my review they’ll be at the end of this one, so it’s up to you if you want to read them or not. Ele lives Inside a Tower with the Others and collects Proofs of the Outside. She dreams of being an Outside Person instead of an Other but knows there are Dragons, Giants and Ogres Outside. Inside is anything but a fairytale because of Him but Inside is all she knows. Ele is one of This is a story where the less you know before you read it the better so while I’d usually provide content warnings before my review they’ll be at the end of this one, so it’s up to you if you want to read them or not. Ele lives Inside a Tower with the Others and collects Proofs of the Outside. She dreams of being an Outside Person instead of an Other but knows there are Dragons, Giants and Ogres Outside. Inside is anything but a fairytale because of Him but Inside is all she knows. Ele is one of those girls whose story and spirit will super glue themselves inside your mind. Her resilience and spunk under unimaginable circumstances inspire me to want to be as brave and capable of facing my fears as she did hers. Her love of reading endeared her to me and, like Matilda before her, she reinforced my belief that with books and your imagination you can endure and ultimately overcome any adversity. Her voice, which I originally found disconcerting and disorienting, became easier to read the more I got to know her. Having only known Inside she doesn’t speak like any other character I’ve read. I loved her descriptions of objects that you and I take for granted and sometimes it took me a while to figure out what it was that she was experiencing. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so much fiction and nonfiction with similar themes or because I try to focus on all of the details in books I plan on reviewing but I picked up on clues of some potential surprises early on. I was disappointed that there were no big revelations for me but from what I can tell based on early reviews I’m an anomaly. I did keep waiting for (view spoiler)[the police (or anyone in authority, really) to show up and I found it somewhat suspicious that it took so long but also acknowledge that for the story to unfold the way it did they couldn’t get involved too early (hide spoiler)] . Free Bonus Short Story! If you sign up to join Sarah’s Reader’s Club at her website you’ll be emailed Inside. It’s available in MOBI, ePub and PDF formats. It accompanies Outside and is really, really good, but I cannot stress this enough - please read Outside first or you’ll be in Spoiler World before you know it. I’m not sure if there’s an expiry date on this offer but the link worked at the time I posted this review. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Children’s UK for the opportunity to read this book. Content warnings include (view spoiler)[ physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual assault, neglect, isolation, grief, suicide, dissociation (which was described brilliantly), physical and mental illness, and living in captivity (hide spoiler)] . THUMP-THUMP-KNOCK KNOCK-THUMP-KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK-THUMP THUMP THUMP-knock-knock KNOCK THUMP-scrap knock-knock-THUMP THUMP scrap KNOCK-THUMP KNOCK-THUMP-KNOCK KNOCK-THUMP KNOCK-scrap

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Outside was such a great book! It definitely reminded me of some other books that I read last year (or so), like Room. Haven't seen the movie yet but if it's like the book, then I'm sure I will love it. In this, you will meet Ele. Now she was an interesting character to meet. She was different and unique.. but giving her circumstance - it's something that one would expect as well. Again, she was intriguing and definitely hel I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Outside was such a great book! It definitely reminded me of some other books that I read last year (or so), like Room. Haven't seen the movie yet but if it's like the book, then I'm sure I will love it. In this, you will meet Ele. Now she was an interesting character to meet. She was different and unique.. but giving her circumstance - it's something that one would expect as well. Again, she was intriguing and definitely held my interest. The only thing I didn't like was how immature she was or at least her views on things. It kind of made me do some eye rolls and other stuff but then again, I still liked this book. Now I love a good dark book every now and then - and this book definitely delivered. It's not only an eye opener for what Ele went through.. but it definitely shows what happens to people who go through this. Heck, are going through this. This book gave me some cringe-worthy moments. Good cringe-worthy moments because I was hooked for the entire book. Overall, I'm glad that I got this ARC and took a chance on it. I enjoyed it immensely and will definitely look forward to dive into another book by this author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    uckes's debut novel, is a young adult story of inspiration and thriving despite adversity, and although these type of books usually very much appeal to me this was tough to get through, so tough that I almost gave up on more than one occasion. Ele's narrative was quite confusing and difficult to absorb, but I do understand the authors desire to create something original. Sometimes it works, others it doesn't - this wasn't quite executed well enough for me. It also starts very slowly and descript uckes's debut novel, is a young adult story of inspiration and thriving despite adversity, and although these type of books usually very much appeal to me this was tough to get through, so tough that I almost gave up on more than one occasion. Ele's narrative was quite confusing and difficult to absorb, but I do understand the authors desire to create something original. Sometimes it works, others it doesn't - this wasn't quite executed well enough for me. It also starts very slowly and descriptions given of things by Ele and the Others took time to get used to due to the limited vocabulary of these youngsters. I did, however, find it easy to connect with Ele and her ambition to overcome her problems and make something of herself, it's an inspirational message. Be warned, though, there are many heartbreaking moments throughout the book. Because the main sticking point for most people is the way in which is written, I recommend sampling the novel before purchasing so you have peace of mind that you can work through the structure and make the story work for you. I found it made the narrative too disjointed but you may feel differently. Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anna 'Bookbuyer'

    First I would like to thank Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book and also to apologize for it being late. Now on to the review. This book ultimately was a three star for me. I found some issues with the formatting which was probably because it was an ARC. Also, it was a bit confusing. I like Ele. I found her story inspiring and sad. It took me a really long time to figure out who the others were. I won't explain who they are as I'm trying for spoiler free but it's ultimately sad and a First I would like to thank Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book and also to apologize for it being late. Now on to the review. This book ultimately was a three star for me. I found some issues with the formatting which was probably because it was an ARC. Also, it was a bit confusing. I like Ele. I found her story inspiring and sad. It took me a really long time to figure out who the others were. I won't explain who they are as I'm trying for spoiler free but it's ultimately sad and awe-inspiring. Jack was a big surprise and also a sad part of the story. I wonder what other talk is? There own made-up language? Willow first is a weird name for a boy but that's a side personal note. I prefer the Will his dad called him. I felt bad for Will and his dad too. Both had their own burdens as well. But they took care of Ele well considering. Also, I was very confused why neither took action when they found Ele? That doesn't make sense to me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)

    DNF @ page 102 This is a debut UKYA novel that I was feeling very excited for... but sadly didn't work for me. It was a creepy premise and very Rapunzel reminiscent about a young girl locked away inside and never being allowed out, nor the other children. The writing style just didn't click and I was overall, left feeling very confused!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Outside is a captivating debut novel from UKYA author Sarah Ann Juckes. It is fast-paced, full of layered and wonderful characters and comes together in a shocking and emotional finale. It’s hard to review this story without spoilers, so I’ll be keeping it fairly brief. This is the kind of book where the less you know, the better the reading experience. Outside tells the story of Ele and the Others. From the outset we know there is something different about Ele. The way she describes the world aro Outside is a captivating debut novel from UKYA author Sarah Ann Juckes. It is fast-paced, full of layered and wonderful characters and comes together in a shocking and emotional finale. It’s hard to review this story without spoilers, so I’ll be keeping it fairly brief. This is the kind of book where the less you know, the better the reading experience. Outside tells the story of Ele and the Others. From the outset we know there is something different about Ele. The way she describes the world around her is almost not human and it did take me a little while to grasp that. However, once I had adapted to Ele’s way of thinking I couldn’t get her unique voice out of my head. Phrases such as ‘sun bars’ which I quickly figured out were lights had me both confused and curious. Where exactly was Ele? What was happening to her? As the revelations were made about Ele, her life, the Others and Him, I could feel the tension slowly building. I could kind of see where the book was going but even then there were still plenty of surprises in the final few chapters. One of my favourite things about this book was Ele’s imagination when it came to the Outside. Being Inside for her whole life Ele’s only imagery of the Outside comes from books and her escape into fiction. It was really endearing when reading the way in which this effects what Ele expects from the Outside. The expects dragons, Princes, Princesses and evil giants. To her, that is what the Outside is all about. I loved the idea of books being real in her mind because like so many people I use reading to escape the real world myself. Ele’s character is strong, her voice is unique but feels incredibly authentic thanks to the clever writing style used by Juckes. Her strength is admirable; I really don’t think I would be able to do half of what she does. Her emotions are clear and I felt both sympathetic and empathetic towards her. I do also need to give a nod to Ezra-Dad who was quite possibly my favourite character in the whole book. It was lovely to see such a positive role model in him and to see the way in which he adapted and changed whilst Ele was around. Wesley was also a wonderful character. Overall I thought that Outside was a really captivating and emotional read. A story of true human spirit and the strength we can all find within us should we need to. Ele’s voice will stick with me for a long time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Evie Braithwaite

    Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. I had mixed feelings about this novel for the first few chapters. The language was difficult to navigate and I didn’t know what I’d let myself in for. However, I stuck with it and was soon swept up in Ele's mission and her distinctive childish vernacular. It's down to the perspective Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. I had mixed feelings about this novel for the first few chapters. The language was difficult to navigate and I didn’t know what I’d let myself in for. However, I stuck with it and was soon swept up in Ele's mission and her distinctive childish vernacular. It's down to the perspective from which this extraordinary story is told that makes this book so unique. Ele knows nothing about life outside. Her only guide to the world beyond the sheltered small room are the few fairy tale stories which keep her company. Literature acts as her only point of reference as to how the world works. Like Rapunzel, she believes she’s trapped in a tower and a Prince will soon come to rescue her. However, it's not long before she begins writing her own story. She uses what she’s learned as a guide and writes her own rules on how to navigate herself in the outside world. “But this ain't Rapunzel's story, is it? This is mine. And if there ain't no Prince running in and slaying the Witch, then that means this Princess has got to do her own damn dirty work herself.” Ele is fierce, determined, and her fascination with the mundane was nothing but entertaining to read. It was if she landed on a new planet completely, mystified by everything she encountered. From brewing tea to experiencing the sensation of stepping into a warm bath for the very first time, she finds magic in the mundane. Juckes has created an unforgettable character. Overall, Outside is nothing like I’ve ever read before. I swallowed this book whole and I didn’t want to put it down until I found out the truth behind Ele’s tragic upbringing. The ending was incredible with an unexpected plot twist which left me wanting more from the curious character. This was a heart-breaking journey which I’m so happy to have been a part of. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK for providing me with an e-Arc version of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adele Shea

    What an absolute gem of a book this is! A modern day fairytale of escaping the evil witch. Except the evil witch is a male captor who has no intentions of letting his prisoners go. That is until the day Ele finally finds the courage to escape, run and never look back. Loved this book so much I read it within a couple of hours. Thank you Sarah Ann Juckes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Juckes

    Hi everyone! I'm so excited for you all to meet Ele in January 2019. Ele is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. She is determined to prove there is a world Outside, and when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. She has a weird, striking voice. Although she's trapped Inside, she has the kind of resilience and tenacity that I hope I'd have if ever faced with real danger. Ele's experience of the world is coloured by the fairytale books she has Inside with her. Hi everyone! I'm so excited for you all to meet Ele in January 2019. Ele is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. She is determined to prove there is a world Outside, and when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. She has a weird, striking voice. Although she's trapped Inside, she has the kind of resilience and tenacity that I hope I'd have if ever faced with real danger. Ele's experience of the world is coloured by the fairytale books she has Inside with her. I had so much fun seeing the world through her eyes, as I hope you will when reading it in January! Outside is YA fiction about the power stories have to save lives. If you liked 'Room', 'If You Find Me', or are a fan of Meg Rosoff, then hopefully you'll enjoy this, too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tahlia

    Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/... Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/museofnyxma... *I was provided with an ARC of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. All quotes used may be subject to change upon publication. The synopsis for Outside greatly intrigued me as it reminded me of the book Room by Emma Donoghue, which I read and quite enjoyed. As well as the protagonist being held captive, like in Room, Outside is also told in a very unique point of view, Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/... Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/museofnyxma... *I was provided with an ARC of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. All quotes used may be subject to change upon publication. The synopsis for Outside greatly intrigued me as it reminded me of the book Room by Emma Donoghue, which I read and quite enjoyed. As well as the protagonist being held captive, like in Room, Outside is also told in a very unique point of view, as Ele has had no real form of education and this is reflected in her limited knowledge of what things are around her and how she actually words things, “Here’s the thing about being inside. Ain’t no one believes that they are”, “the dark don’t help none”. This took some getting used to, but I think that it made Ele seem more real and innocent, inevitably making her situation feel even more dire. I’m not entirely sure how old Ele is because I can’t recall it being explicitly mentioned, however, I believe that she is a teenager. Despite her lack of education, Ele is shrewd and very determined to change her circumstances, “I don’t belong here – not one bit. I got to get back to that Outside or I’ll die”, even if she has to constantly remind herself to be brave. What is interesting is that although Ele is held captive by this man, he doesn’t really make that many appearances in the book, we are mostly told about him through Ele’s memories. In a way I was grateful for this because it was hard to read about when he was mentioned. Ele constantly refers to the man as ‘Him’ which beautifully helped create the idea that he is indeed this monster, as he doesn’t even have a name. There aren’t any really graphic scenes of what Ele suffers at his hands, but he is violent towards her and I believe that he sexually abuses her as well. Ele is kept naked in this little room, and all she can do is wait for him to turn the lights on and for the ‘feed’ to come down the pipes so that she can eat. He seems to actually come into the room about once a week, “I suppose you’re wondering what happened when He came in this time…there won’t be no once upon a time’ neither, ’cause it ain’t just once. It’s every seven days.” Ele can never guess what his temperament will be, “He came in pretending to be harmless and all. Making nice to the princess…he had her caught between his legs, one hooked over her like a bar…He was all fingers poking them inside her mouth”. Even these bits are hard to read, and it could just be because she’s telling it in story mode, but the fact that she is referring to herself in third person, just shows how much she’s suffering and trying to detach herself from the situation, it’s heartbreaking. Ele’s only comforts in her captivity are ‘The Others’, the few books she’s read, The Outside she has created in her head and Jack who she supposedly communicates with by knocking on the wall. ‘The Others’ are beings that Ele mentions are in this room with her, I say beings because it is clear that they aren’t human, in the way that they are described as behaving and mostly, because they look nothing like Ele, “I could see their thoughts. Looking at my lips. Looking at His lips. Feeling at their own lipless mouth holes.” I found ‘The Others’ so confusing because I couldn’t understand what they were and I was sure that this wasn’t a fantasy book, so to be honest that was my main incentive for reading on, to find out who and what they were. However, we didn’t find out what they were until much later in the book, and although it was a twist, it was a bit underwhelming and, even disappointing if I’m honest. There were three ‘Others’ in total – Cow, Bee and Queenie, sometimes they offered Ele comfort, but Queenie usually gave her a hard time, because they aren’t keen on the idea of The Outside, “They say Outside is all lies. And they won’t have me thinking of Zeb neither ’cause to them, as soon as something ain’t inside no more it ain’t real. If it was up to them, we’d all still be rolling around like little ‘uns, living in our lies”. Zeb was Ele’s brother who used to live in the room, until he tried to get them to escape one day and the man hit him in the head with his gun and all that remains of him is a bloodstain in the room that Ele insists hasn’t washed out. Ele constantly escapes into her own mind, where she has conjured up her version of Outside. However, Ele’s idea of Outside is merely based on what she has read in books, “I know that I might see some bad stuff out there, like dragons and Ogres and Giants, but I’m brave. I can beat all of them. I’m an Outside person.” I found this so adorable and humorous at times that she thought everything in these fairytales was awaiting her outside, but the truth of why she thought like this quickly soured these emotions and made me just feel so sorry for her. I felt that Ele creating this world inside her head clearly displayed how fragile her mental state is and just how much trauma she’s been through. But like I said, she’s determined on getting out and essentially finish what Zeb had started, “won’t be long until my arms are as thick as a Giant’s and can break through walls. Here’s hoping”. It was interesting to see how differently Zeb and Ele reacted to their captivity, Ele retreated into her head to make things not seem quite so bad, “But Zeb lived in the truth of it all for so long. He soaked it up for the both of us, while I lived dry in lies.” Ele was only able to escape mentally because her books allowed her to dream up this Outside and offer her this much needed escape from her reality, “Books are my windows. They show me everything I need to be an Outside person, from killing Dragons to growing beanstalks. It’d be awful dark Inside without no books”. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory here, but I just wanted to mention something that I found really confusing in this. There was a character who was mixed race, I believe, and Ele reacts to this when she sees him, “he’s got skin so dark he could be one of those clouds whispering to the moon last night”. And yet, in the rest of the book he’s constantly said to be blushing, “Even in the dark, I can see his face is red”, “his face starts turning red. ‘Um’, he says, moving back. ‘Ok. This is going to sound pure weird”, I found this all so odd, given that initial description of him. I’m not a huge fan of how his ‘differences’ were described in the book to be honest anyway, so yh…I get that Ele has been held captive and has access to only three books but, it just seemed unnecessary to me, “his head hair ain’t like no truths in no books. it’s all together and bouncy”, “I launch myself at him, snatching it out of his hands and not even thinking about how his skin feels like mine even though it’s all dark”. I already get that she’s been held captive and so I’m not sure why this needed to be done. Overall this was an easy read, although not in terms of subject matter. It was a unique story with an equally unique protagonist, but given everything she’d been through I didn’t become as attached to her as I expected to. Apart from the continuity issues and just the race thing in general, the writing was good, especially in carving out an authentic voice for Ele. There were many twists and turns in this, but none of them fully blew me away. I did however get answers to all the questions I had throughout the book, there were definitely things that I didn’t like that much, but I wouldn’t say not to read it, as there was a relationship that developed between three characters that I thought was really sweet, but alas, spoilers prevent me from getting into that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie (Bookish.Intoxication)

    I won this book in a Giveaway from Penguin Random House and from the author, thank you so much! I found this book to be something so completely different from what I have read before. I struggled with the language style, the cadence of it also, but the writing style was fantastic, keeping me on track and keeping the pages turning. I also loved the shorter chapters. They were just long enough to give you what you wanted, but short enough to not overwhelm you. Being overwhelmed happens easily withi I won this book in a Giveaway from Penguin Random House and from the author, thank you so much! I found this book to be something so completely different from what I have read before. I struggled with the language style, the cadence of it also, but the writing style was fantastic, keeping me on track and keeping the pages turning. I also loved the shorter chapters. They were just long enough to give you what you wanted, but short enough to not overwhelm you. Being overwhelmed happens easily within this book. You can tell from the first few pages that something isn't quite right and your mind just keeps spinning to work out what it is. I also found that this book didn't really take off until the last fourty pages. Once MILD SPOILER ALERT Ele escaped from the Inside, nothing really happened until the final few chapters. It felt empty and hollow. But Maybe that was the point, to show us how differently Ele would see the world. This book is well written and engaging, it does take a little while for anything of interest to start, and is incredibly strange, until you get used to the theme and the language use. I did enjoy it and I am so greatful for the chance to have won it!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    The first thing I'll say is there are going to be obvious comparisons here with Emma Donoghoe's Room and that is simply because it's a similar subject matter and not many books are written like this. Ele is held captive and it is through her eyes we see the world, 'inside' is quite confusing at times but that is because it is told through Ele are we are meant to be confused as she is. There is child abuse, neglect and violence, it is never graphic or overtly mentioned, but the images the author The first thing I'll say is there are going to be obvious comparisons here with Emma Donoghoe's Room and that is simply because it's a similar subject matter and not many books are written like this. Ele is held captive and it is through her eyes we see the world, 'inside' is quite confusing at times but that is because it is told through Ele are we are meant to be confused as she is. There is child abuse, neglect and violence, it is never graphic or overtly mentioned, but the images the author gives like smells and sounds leave it to the imagination which is worse. I mention as this may be required as a trigger for some people. There were twists and turns and it's a hard read, upsetting, but a well written story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kate (Reading Through Infinity)

    3.5 stars TWs for mentions of physical assault and sexual abuse, captivity, emotional abuse. This novel is about a young girl, Ele, who has lived most of her life inside, but finally gets to experience the outside. The story is told through first person, and I was struck by how strong Ele's narrative voice was. We experience everything she experiences through her vivid descriptions of the world around her. At times, her views and descriptions are childish, but having grown up with no parents or sc 3.5 stars TWs for mentions of physical assault and sexual abuse, captivity, emotional abuse. This novel is about a young girl, Ele, who has lived most of her life inside, but finally gets to experience the outside. The story is told through first person, and I was struck by how strong Ele's narrative voice was. We experience everything she experiences through her vivid descriptions of the world around her. At times, her views and descriptions are childish, but having grown up with no parents or schooling, it's understandable that she doesn't have the same names for things and understanding of society as we do. There are some incredibly dark moments in this book, but these are balanced by Ele's found family and her enjoyment of nature. The narrative does become confused during the chapters when Ele wakes up in an unfamiliar place, and although this is meant to reflect her own confusion, it wasn't executed as well as it could have been, and ended up leaving readers confused. The pacing is also very slow at the beginning of the story, but it gradually picks up the pace as the plot progresses. Aside from a few scenes that were a little contrived (Willow's Dad, Ezra, doesn't question why her parents aren't looking for her until she's been living with them for days), this was a tense story with some great twists.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    “Truths are like people, see. They don’t like being shut up tight. They shrivel slowly, and they rot with lies, creating something mighty ugly.” Wow! What can I say about this book?! Like Emma Donoghue’s Room it is both disturbing and redeeming at the same time. Ele’s language and immature outlook on life gives us an indication on her age, but also demonstrates just how long she has been held captive. It makes for difficult reading at the beginning, but I got the hang of it after a few chapters. “Truths are like people, see. They don’t like being shut up tight. They shrivel slowly, and they rot with lies, creating something mighty ugly.” Wow! What can I say about this book?! Like Emma Donoghue’s Room it is both disturbing and redeeming at the same time. Ele’s language and immature outlook on life gives us an indication on her age, but also demonstrates just how long she has been held captive. It makes for difficult reading at the beginning, but I got the hang of it after a few chapters. It’s a quick read, but by no stretch of the imagination is it easy. It is actually quite sickening to go through this with a character - especially knowing that this very thing happens in real life. This book gives us a stark reminder of all the Ele’s out there who have not yet escaped, and I could not put it down. Many thanks to Sarah Ann Juckes, Penguin Random House UK Children’s and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Rials

    I didn’t know what to think of this book when I first started it, but barely into it, I was hooked in by Ele, by her bravery and survival, and by the heartbreaking story. Even though this is a heavy topic, Juckes fills the book with beautiful, small moments of healing and hope and love. I’m so very glad I read to the end!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    Very difficult book to read, but amazingly done. Heartfelt, real and it makes you think. What more do you need? Can I sit in a corner and cry now? Howly crap this was harrowing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dannielle Potts

    Thank You Netgalley & Publishers For Granting My Request To Review This Book: If You’ve Enjoyed “Room”, This Is The Book For You! Having Read “Room” Myself, Once I Was A Few Pages In, I Fell Into A Rythym With The Language Which Is Similar. The Descriptive Language Fits Perfectly With The Image The Author Portrays Of The “Girl In The Tower”. Although This Is A YA Novel, It Deals With Issues Very Relevant To All Age Groups, Predominantly Mental Health And Is A Great Medium To Raise Awareness. Thank You Netgalley & Publishers For Granting My Request To Review This Book: If You’ve Enjoyed “Room”, This Is The Book For You! Having Read “Room” Myself, Once I Was A Few Pages In, I Fell Into A Rythym With The Language Which Is Similar. The Descriptive Language Fits Perfectly With The Image The Author Portrays Of The “Girl In The Tower”. Although This Is A YA Novel, It Deals With Issues Very Relevant To All Age Groups, Predominantly Mental Health And Is A Great Medium To Raise Awareness. I Found The Book Picked Up For Me When I Entered The Second Part And That’s When I Was Hooked And Refused To Put It Down. I Liked The Introduction Of Willow, As A Way Of Answering Questions The Reader Had And Of Furthering The Character Of Ele. I Enjoyed The Twist Nearing The End Of The Book But Did Feel It Ended Too Abruptly.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Mullane

    Outside, the debut novel from author and Content Creator, Sarah Ann Juckes, is the story of Ele, a teenage girl who has been kidnapped and held captive in a single room by Him. Already being touted as the YA version of Emma Donoghue's Room, this book is a harrowing look at life in bleak and filthy captivity for a young girl who understands there is more to her tiny reality. The comparisons are justified: Outside has a similar story and plot, and the play on language is familiar (capitalisation of Outside, the debut novel from author and Content Creator, Sarah Ann Juckes, is the story of Ele, a teenage girl who has been kidnapped and held captive in a single room by Him. Already being touted as the YA version of Emma Donoghue's Room, this book is a harrowing look at life in bleak and filthy captivity for a young girl who understands there is more to her tiny reality. The comparisons are justified: Outside has a similar story and plot, and the play on language is familiar (capitalisation of certain nouns, identification of objects etc.). While it even addresses the same issues of abduction, sexual abuse and consent, it does so in a sensitive manner that allows this book to be suitable for younger readers. I liked how this book presented Ele's small world; the descriptions of it were well evoked and her resilience and curiosity despite her circumstances were admirable. The story is gently gripping, in that there isn't a heavy use of shock factor but you are eager to learn of Ele's fate. When Ele escapes (this isn't a spoiler, as it pretty much says so in the blurb), the story to shifts to how she adapts outside and tries to make sense of the world around her. While in Room there was a focus on emotional distress and mental health following the protagonist's escape, here the emphasis is more on Ele's eagerness to learn and ache for human contact. Through meeting Willow and his Dad, the theme of found family and human connection emerges. Despite an unexpected and upsetting conclusion, the ultimate feeling that emerges here is hope. Ele is a warm and brave character and we completely get behind her. There were a few minor issues with the consistency of the story: How does Ele know what a gingerbread house and a bears' house is, yet fails to identify 'a concrete square with an entrance'? Ele reads a lot so I understand that she is familiar with fairy tales, but surely the tendency for a bright girl to connect things in her head would be strong? Throughout the story there are times where you will find yourself thinking: "Surely if she knows what X is, she should know what Y is?". The novel also got off to a slower start than I would have liked but I was willing to get over this to discover what was in store for Ele. Overall, Outside is an impressive debut and a poignant and engaging read that will appeal to a large YA audience.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zaide

    If there ain’t no Prince running in and slaying the Witch, then that means this Princess has got to do her own damn dirty work herself. This was a good read overall but there were some things I had an issue with. The writing style itself is quite hard to get used to, it’s quite broken and disjointed and as it’s set in Scotland it uses a lot of area specific terms and slang that take a little adjusting to. I really liked the first half of the book where Ele is held “Inside”. It’s a very brutal a If there ain’t no Prince running in and slaying the Witch, then that means this Princess has got to do her own damn dirty work herself. This was a good read overall but there were some things I had an issue with. The writing style itself is quite hard to get used to, it’s quite broken and disjointed and as it’s set in Scotland it uses a lot of area specific terms and slang that take a little adjusting to. I really liked the first half of the book where Ele is held “Inside”. It’s a very brutal and stark look at her captivity and the horrors she is subjected to. It’s emotional to read and you can’t help but feel for her and really get behind her in her quest to escape. I was also hugely intrigued by “The Others” who were in there with her, who she described as looking different to her physically and who speak a different language. She likens them to the goblins in her fairytale book and after such a compelling narrative for them I was very disappointed at the explanation of their origin. Then there is “Jack”. A boy who is kept in the room next to Ele and they communicate using knocks on the wall. This was a tad confusing for me, I’m not sure how two young children would learn to communicate in this way and no explanation was really offered. It was also a tad obvious who “Jack” was and considering how important he was to Ele I was surprised she didn’t try and go back to save him. My main issue with this book was the second part after Ele escapes and she is “Outside”. She finds herself on the property of a man and his son who take her in and care for her. I just cannot believe that upon finding a battered and malnutritioned little girl, the wouldn’t go to the police or a hospital. They say they don’t “want any trouble” but that’s just absurd! It’s such irresponsible adulting! And my displeasure at this really marred my enjoyment of this portion of the book. I also struggled with the inconsistencies in what Ele knows. She doesn’t know the words for things like clothes or spoons, but she can read. She can also speak quite well but doesn’t know how to climb stairs. It was a little odd. Generally I enjoyed this but my rating was probably more like a 2.5 stars, it was very compelling but some of the issues above just affected my enjoyment of it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christine - LifeWithAllTheBooks

    Outside was actually a really pleasant surprise for me. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw it on Netgalley and thought it looked intriguing. I can see it being likened to Room as it deals with a similar harrowing theme of being imprisoned. However I think Outside stands up really well entirely on it’s own merits. Outside follows a young girl, Ele, on her quest to escape her captivity and get to the ‘outside’ world. The book is written in a way that takes some getting used to. The reader is thrown i Outside was actually a really pleasant surprise for me. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw it on Netgalley and thought it looked intriguing. I can see it being likened to Room as it deals with a similar harrowing theme of being imprisoned. However I think Outside stands up really well entirely on it’s own merits. Outside follows a young girl, Ele, on her quest to escape her captivity and get to the ‘outside’ world. The book is written in a way that takes some getting used to. The reader is thrown into Ele’s frightening world and it is not immediately clear exactly what parts of her experience are real and what parts she has invented to escape her trauma. Despite the unusual writing style, or perhaps because of it, I was totally sucked into this story. I actually read it all in one sitting which is not something I do often, but I had to find out exactly what was going to happen to this brave and compelling character. There are obviously some dark subjects in this book but the overwhelming feeling it left me with was one of hope. The characters in Outside demonstrate both the cruelty this world is capable of and also the inexorable strength of the human spirit. I really don’t have anything bad to say about this book. It is an intelligently written story of survival that I hope many people read. Outside is not a long book but I was left thinking about it long after I finished reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jemima Pett

    The blurb intrigued me, and the book continues the intrigue.  The reader is continually trying to work out what is going on, who the other people are, where Ele is.  Eventually her location came as a surprise to me.  Then the type of establishment sent changing ideas through my brain.  The answer was very different from the thoughts I'd had. The book is a conundrum, wrapped in a riddle.  The outcome is an enigma in many ways.  The power of the author's voice keeps you turning the pages, full of h The blurb intrigued me, and the book continues the intrigue.  The reader is continually trying to work out what is going on, who the other people are, where Ele is.  Eventually her location came as a surprise to me.  Then the type of establishment sent changing ideas through my brain.  The answer was very different from the thoughts I'd had. The book is a conundrum, wrapped in a riddle.  The outcome is an enigma in many ways.  The power of the author's voice keeps you turning the pages, full of hope for Ele, but full of dread that things could get worse. Even worse.  The writing is so strong, you are wrapped in Ele's thoughts and world, and following her growing understanding of the Rules of Outside, just as you struggled to interpret her life through her Rules of Inside. The people she meets are so well characterised it is really hard to tell whether they are true hearted or not.  Ele herself vacillates. The author has achieved a masterpiece to make us see the world through such eyes, and give voice to others who might find themselves in a similar situation. Similar situation?  Yes.  The author's voluntary work with the NSPCC gives the only clue.  For the rest, you'll have to read the book yourself.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kirra

    After finishing this book I’m still not really sure how to describe the feeling of reading Outside, other than saying you just have to read it for yourself. This debut novel went by so quickly because it was a shorter book and I was also immersed in the plot instantly so it didn’t take long to step into her shoes. In this book the main character, Ele, is a young teenage girl that has always been inside. Having lived in a small, locked room for as long as she can remember she still knows there is After finishing this book I’m still not really sure how to describe the feeling of reading Outside, other than saying you just have to read it for yourself. This debut novel went by so quickly because it was a shorter book and I was also immersed in the plot instantly so it didn’t take long to step into her shoes. In this book the main character, Ele, is a young teenage girl that has always been inside. Having lived in a small, locked room for as long as she can remember she still knows there is something else to escape to. Even though she has never been Outside, she knows there is more to the world because of the three simple books she has to look at including a book on different trees that paints a picture of a world beyond her door. Of course, Ele longs to escape and be Outside but the man, only known to her and the reader as ‘Him’, keeps her in the dark. This book to me is a story of self discovery and the strength of hope and perseverance. Ele has a simple and determined force driving her with the obvious need for freedom and escape from a terrible situation, but she also has a beautiful hope and admiration with the trees she recites the names and features of. The trees became her anchor as she was kept inside a small, imprisoned room where she could escape into the book of trees and you know in times of great darkness or struggle one bright thing or something you hold onto can drive you forward onto that discovery. Outside was an interesting and unique reading experience that left a heavy impression on me. (Thank you to Penguin Books Australia for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Outside is available in store and online now!)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maddison

    This book was something else! I read this in basically two sittings, the pages just flew by! I don't think I've read anything like this before, and the simplicity mixed with the shocking things that were uncovered just grabbed me. I'll definitely be keeping up to date with Juckes' books in the future. I love the way things were described in this book, as Ele doesn't know what the names for things are, so she describes them in her own way. It took a little bit of getting used to, trying to picture This book was something else! I read this in basically two sittings, the pages just flew by! I don't think I've read anything like this before, and the simplicity mixed with the shocking things that were uncovered just grabbed me. I'll definitely be keeping up to date with Juckes' books in the future. I love the way things were described in this book, as Ele doesn't know what the names for things are, so she describes them in her own way. It took a little bit of getting used to, trying to picture the description in a way that I know it and being able to figure out what she's talking about. But I loved the relationships in this book, both between her and Willow as well as her and Ezra. The shocks at the end were very real! I had an inkling one of them may be true, as it was brought up earlier in the story, but the other one I had no idea until Willow mentioned something and then I just had to fly through the rest to see if it was true! I'm so grateful to Penguin for sending me this review copy, am so glad I have read this one!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    Ele and the Others have been trapped inside by Him for as long as she can remember. Ele knows there is a world Outside, but can she ever get there? This book was a quick read for me. I found that after a very slow start, the story began to pick up about a third of the way in, and by then I definitely wanted to know what had happened to Ele. The language used took a little getting used to, but it was understandable when you consider Ele and the Others had no other frames of reference apart from so Ele and the Others have been trapped inside by Him for as long as she can remember. Ele knows there is a world Outside, but can she ever get there? This book was a quick read for me. I found that after a very slow start, the story began to pick up about a third of the way in, and by then I definitely wanted to know what had happened to Ele. The language used took a little getting used to, but it was understandable when you consider Ele and the Others had no other frames of reference apart from some children's books. I rate this one a solid 3.5 stars. TW: some descriptions of child abuse, thankfully not too graphic. Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Penguin Random House UK Children's, for the opportunity to review an ARC.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    This was a difficult book to read- at least to start with. It took a long while to get into the style of writing & the strange story. However before long I realised that this was a book where I really wanted to find out what it was all about. I have never read 'Room' but from reviews I gather the premise is similar so I did not have any preconceived expectations. Normally I give a short precis of the plot but with this one I suggest you read it for yourself. I'm glad I did as it will be a whi This was a difficult book to read- at least to start with. It took a long while to get into the style of writing & the strange story. However before long I realised that this was a book where I really wanted to find out what it was all about. I have never read 'Room' but from reviews I gather the premise is similar so I did not have any preconceived expectations. Normally I give a short precis of the plot but with this one I suggest you read it for yourself. I'm glad I did as it will be a while before I forget this one. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read this unusual book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Ele believes in the Outside even if none of the Others do. She's been in the Tower forever and the only thing she sees from the Outside is Him, but she knows it's there and she is determined to find a way out. Hints of the shocking truth keep coming through and I found myself constantly revising my ideas of what was happening and who the others were. Even after finishing the book I couldn't stop thinking about it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lexy

    First book of 2019! This was an intense read with very mature content but i’m glad it didnt go into too much detail. It was very hard to wrap my head around the talking style and it did kind of just throw you in with no context so it took me a little while to work out the situation. Once I was into it though it was a great read. This book was actually a free gift with a dymocks purchase in their sale period so it was a nice surprise!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jodie- Readthewriteact

    This book was sent to me by the publisher for my honest review. I really enjoyed this book despite how dark the subject. It was very cleverly written with the concept of "Outside" meaning so much more to the protagonist. This is a sad story, so don't look here for some feel good fluff. This book makes you think and feel a lot!!!

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