Review: Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes

Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes
Published by: Penguin Random House Children’s
Released: 3rd January 2019
Page Count: 288 Pages
Edition: Kindle
Rating: 4/5 
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Here’s the thing about being Inside. Ain’t no one believes that they are.
Ele has never been Outside.
She has never seen a tree or felt the rain.
Her whole world is Inside
With her books and the Others and Him.
But here’s the secret . . .
Ele’s getting out.
For good.


Ele has never been outside. She lives in a tower with the Others and collects proof that there is an Outside. All Ele wants to do is be an Outside person but she knows there are scary creatures out there like ogres, giants and dragons. Inside is all she knows but that is anything but a fairytale because of Him. Can Ele finally get Outside for good?

Before I start I just want to mention a few trigger warnings. Outside does touch on some sensitive issues such as physical abuse, sexual assault, neglect, imprisonment, mental health and disassociation. These are all handled extremely well throughout the story but please do go into the book knowing this, as at times it is pretty heavy.

Outside is a book that I went into not knowing much about and for that I am glad as it really did surprise me. It is a story of inspiration, bravery and thriving to follow your dreams. This is a lot different to other books I have read and I think that is one of the reasons why it stood out so much. You go in expecting one thing but what you get is totally different.

The perspective the story is told from is one of the reasons why it is so unique. Ele knows nothing about life Outside. Her guide to the Outside is through a very limited amount of literature – mainly fairy tales. Ele sees herself as Rapunzel and is convinced she lives in a tower and is waiting to be rescued by a prince. When Ele finally gets Outside the way she describes things such as clothes, food and other everyday items could be seen as quite strange. However, you have to put yourself in Ele’s shoes. What would you be like if you encountered items you’d never seen before?

Outside is very character driven. The plot itself is easy enough to follow but it is mainly about Ele’s development as a character. Ele is fierce, determined and ever so brave. Her reactions to the more boring things in life was very entertaining to read and she brought with her a fresh perspective on things we take for granted. I found myself rooting for her all throughout the book and I just wanted everything to go right for her. If you read about one strong female character this year please do make it Ele. 

Overall, Outside was unlike any book I have read recently. It had me hooked and wanting to know all about Ele and her upbringing. The plot twist at the end just had me in shock. This was a heart wrenching, beautiful, character driven read that I am still thinking about to this day.

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