From the Publisher
"Roberts...masterfully [keeps] suspense high as the teens search for food, clothing and hiding places while fighting off attacks. The simple details of survival, such as living without electricity and refrigeration, fascinate as much as the fight scenes. Overall, a spirit of optimism wins through the post-apocalyptic despair. The four separate threads share enough common elements that, although distinct, they merge into a coherent narrative. Well-balanced, realistic suspense."Kirkus Reviews
"A fascinating blend between Matheson’s I Am Legend and Collins’s The Hunger Games, Dark Inside will engross readers from the first written words, leaving them captivated by strong, compelling characters as well as the savage, destructive world they have to survive. Told from split narrations, a sense of unity is established that furthers the plot considerably and brings urgency and life to the book. Well-written and brilliant, Dark Inside will not disappoint."VOYA
“The suspense and frissons [are] offered up in abundance by this successful debut.”Booklist
“Amidst the recent glut of doomsday scenarios, Roberts makes her story stand out by focusing both on the physical challenges of finding safety in a world gone mad as well as the psychological devastation experienced by each of the teens. The terror of seeing friends suddenly transformed into monsters is keenly felt, but it is the teens’ disillusionment with themselves, and particularly their ability or willingness (or lack thereof) to lead that is most affecting. … Readers looking to prepare themselves for the end of the world might do well to start here.”BCCB
VOYA - Raluca Topliceanu
A fascinating blend between Matheson's I Am Legend (TOR, 2007) and Collins's The Hunger Games, Dark Inside will engross readers from the first written words, leaving them captivated by strong, compelling characters as well as the savage, destructive world they have to survive. Told from split narrations, a sense of unity is established that furthers the plot considerably and brings urgency and life to the book. Well-written and brilliant, Dark Inside will not disappoint. 4Q, 5P. Reviewer: Raluca Topliceanu, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Sara Martin
One day, with barely a moment's warning, the world goes haywire. Earthquakes seem to unleash an unspeakable evil. Civilization crumbles as friends, neighbors, and family members are overcome by a darkness, awakened from within, and suddenly turn on each other with astonishing violence. No one is safe. No one can be trusted. In the face of annihilation, small groups of young people band together to try and survive. Told in alternating voices, each chapter focuses on one teen's predicament. Each of the characters is well drawn and engaging. Interspersed throughout are chapters narrated by "Nothing." This unnamed character is enticingly ambiguous, and this ambiguity has the unsettling effect of bringing everything into question. Small clues hint at this mysterious narrator's identity, but the question of "Who is Nothing?" will keep readers guessing beyond the final page. Dark Inside is certainly not for the faint of heart. Almost immediately, readers are thrown into a world characterized by fear, violence, and uncertainty. Author Jeyn Roberts effectively communicates the desperation of the characters' situation in a tone most appropriate for older teens. Although her descriptions are gruesome, the violence is not gratuitous but rather appropriately horrifying. With an open-ended conclusion, it is unclear whether a sequel is intended, but if Roberts can match the pace of her debut novel, readers - especially fans of post-apocalyptic fiction - will be clamoring for more. Reviewer: Sara Martin
Children's Literature - RevaBeth Russell
Was the book about zombies, the apocalypse or both? Four young people face some of the most horrific situations imagined. These young people hear loved ones screaming and pleading for their lives as the loved ones are killed. These four watch countless injustices one after another. They also experience cold and hunger but the biggest things they experience are fear and uncertainty. Who are they able to trust? Who has not become a "Bagger?" That is the name for these frenzied killers, because it is like they "bag" a deer on a hunt. There are amazing assortments of strategies these teens come up with as they struggle to stay alive. Finding food, clothing and sleeping bags from homes or abandoned stores becomes essential. Self-defense, even killing an attacker is another survival strategy. As civilization crumbles around the teens they try to make sense even though there is no reason or sense. Besides the Baggers, there has been a horrific earthquake in many parts of the world and there is no electricity or infrastructure that they used to have. There are some minor characters in the book that are fleshed out as the book progresses, such as lazy Colin, mysterious Daniel, and fragile, diabetic Chickadee. The writing is descriptive. When Clementine is urinated on by a Bagger, you can almost feel and smell it. As the book progresses each teen becomes part of a group often as the leader in spite of their youth. It is an absolutely riveting book. Reviewer: RevaBeth Russell
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This apocalyptic novel combines elements of the movie 2012 (massive earthquakes destroying major cities and civilization as we know it) and Stephen King's The Stand (Doubleday, 1978) (evil possessing large groups of people who seek to wipe out other survivors). The story alternates between four teens and a fifth character referred to as "Nothing." The teens initially have no connection to one another but circumstances drive them together as they try to navigate the aftermath of the massive quakes and the marauding bands of evil-infected survivors. "Nothing" is presumably the inner voice of one of the ancillary characters who is nearly, but not quite, overcome by the evil driving others to murderous madness. Lots of brutal action will hold teens' attention but on some levels the story just doesn't click. The nature of the force that can cause massive quakes and simultaneously possess millions of people is never even hinted at, much less explained. Characterization is weak to the point that readers are unsure of who is speaking as the perspective changes. The dialogue, setting, and many other elements are unremarkable at best. Recommended only if there is a high demand for end-of-the-world stories.—Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA
After an apocalypse of devastating earthquakes and murderous mobs, four teenagers struggle to survive. Earthquakes destroy North America's entire west coast, collapsing buildings and killing thousands, but that's the easy part. Apparently triggered by the quakes, the darkness inherent in humanity emerges, turning most survivors into a semi-intelligent mob with one purpose: to murder every "normal" person they can find. Aries in Vancouver, Mason in Calgary, Clementine in Iowa and Michael in Colorado all travel until their stories converge, experiencing constant danger, meeting others along the way and uncovering their own hidden strengths. Aries, for example, begins as a chatty adolescent but quickly emerges as a natural leader. Guilt-ridden Michael learns to forgive himself, and mournful Mason learns to love, while Clementine perseveres, although enigmatic Daniel just might be on the other side. Roberts makes readers care about each of them, masterfully keeping suspense high as the teens search for food, clothing and hiding places while fighting off attacks. The simple details of survival, such as living without electricity and refrigeration, fascinate as much as the fight scenes. Overall, a spirit of optimism wins through the post-apocalyptic despair. The four separate threads share enough common elements that, although distinct, they merge into a coherent narrative. Well-balanced, realistic suspense. (Post-apocalyptic suspense. 12 & up)
Read an Excerpt
I’m standing at the edge of existence. Behind me, a thousand monsters descend. Their disguises change with each stride.
When they look in a mirror do they see their true selves?
Arms open wide. In front of me is nothing. No one ever knew how existence would end. Sure, they made assumptions: fire, flood, plague, etc. They studied the skies for locusts and watched for rain. They built their cities, destroyed the forests, and poisoned the water. Warning signs left behind in the ruins of ancient civilizations have been misinterpreted. The sins of mankind are always to blame. But who would have guessed it would be so gray? So empty.
Is there really a way back?
Hello? Is there anyone there?
Sorry, wrong number.
There are too many thoughts to cover in such little time. I knew they would find me. I’m glowing in the moonlight. My darkness was too bright to hide forever. They find all of us eventually. They play the odds, and they’re up a thousand to one.
In front of me is nothing. No bright lights, no darkness. No energy. Just nothing.
There is no future because we no longer have a past. Our present is devised of basic survival, and it’s about to end.
They have made sure of that.
I am Nothing.
I am existence.
I am pain.
I kneel down in the dirt and write some of my last words. I’d speak them, but there is no one left to listen.
© 2011 Jeyn Roberts