Locked Inside

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Marnie is tremendously wealthy and tremendously alone. The 16-year-old daughter of a superstar who was killed years ago in a plane crash, Marnie refuses to take part in her oppressive boarding-school community. And she has no interest in living with her guardian, a well-meaning but stiff man named Max. She would rather burrow away in the dark, comforting world of her favorite Internet adventure game. Especially now that she has started chatting...
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Locked Inside

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Overview

Marnie is tremendously wealthy and tremendously alone. The 16-year-old daughter of a superstar who was killed years ago in a plane crash, Marnie refuses to take part in her oppressive boarding-school community. And she has no interest in living with her guardian, a well-meaning but stiff man named Max. She would rather burrow away in the dark, comforting world of her favorite Internet adventure game. Especially now that she has started chatting online with one of the other players, an intriguing rogue who calls himself the Elf.

But closing herself off from the people around her doesn’t mean she’s safe, as Marnie soon discovers. Kidnapped and locked inside an empty basement cell, Marnie is forced to confront painful truths about herself and her famous mother as she desperately tries to escape her jailer. Oh, how little her cyber-adventure game has prepared her for this real-life dungeon!

After she is kidnapped from the exclusive boarding school she attends, heiress Marnie Skyedottir must rethink her idealized relationship with her mother, her own sense of who she is, and her relationships with others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Less taut than Werlin's The Killer's Cousin, this novel nevertheless offers enough cliffhangers to keep readers hooked. Marnie hasn't been able to reach out to anyone since the death of her wealthy superstar mother, Skye ("an ex-gospel singer who'd started her own well, some said it was practically a religion"). Not knowing even her father's identity, her doings supervised by a guardian, Marnie alienates the other girls at her boarding school. Instead of studying, she immerses herself in an Internet strategy game and her one friend, the Elf, remains at a comfortable distance in cyberspace. But when Leah Slaight, a new teacher, kidnaps her in a misguided attempt to prove that she is also Skye's daughter, Marnie must depend on the skills she has learned in her game to save herself. Even beyond this unlikely premise, there is plenty to strain credibility, such as the Elf showing up single-handed to free Marnie (Leah captures him, too), and Marnie emerging a more together person after being locked in a basement for a week. For all the implausibility, the book is entertaining. Marnie's outsiderishness is of the kind that appeals to readers ("At least you match," she thinks, when she realizes the black eye Leah gave her is the same shade as her dress) and her personality is spirited enough to live up to the creative problem-solving Werlin assigns her. Ages 14-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Marnie's mother, a famous singing superstar, never told her about any relatives. When she died, Marnie inherited her millions, attended boarding school and spent her school vacations with her guardian and the housekeeper. At the age of sixteen, she shut herself off from the other students and her studies, preferring to spend her time playing a computer game with the Elf, a young man she had never met. When her grades plummet, Marnie is forbidden to use the computer, and learns that Ms. Slaight, the substitute chemistry teacher, is to supervise her tutoring. The peculiar Ms. Slaight kidnaps Marnie and locks her in an empty basement room. It takes all of Marnie's courage and strength to confront her own inner demons as well as her kidnapper. She begins to see her mother from a more adult perspective. Werlin paces her story well, both in terms of the plot and Marnie's character. Being alone for great lengths of time allows Marnie to be introspective, to understand this changing relationship with her mother, and to rearrange her priorities. The suspense never falters. And there is even a little romance, too. 2000, Delacorte Press, Ages 14 up, $15.95. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
ALAN Review
Marnie Skydedottir, 16 years old, is worth $235.27 million, and it is all hers on her twenty-first birthday. Meanwhile, though, Marnie is miserable in her boarding school--friendless and flunking everything, except math. She finds solace in her computer games where she competes against an online adversary named Elf. Locked Inside is an account of Marnie's amazing external journey through a bizarre kidnapping that leads to an internal realization about her place in the world. Slowly, Marnie uncovers secrets about her own life--the background of her deceased mother and the real identity of her online nemesis, Elf. This is a complicated novel with a troubled character whose sense of vulnerability and loneliness will appeal to adolescents who know too well the pain of growing-up. Genre: Psychological Thriller 2000, Delacorte Press, Ages 12 up, $15.95. Reviewer: Harold M. Foster
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This is the kind of mystery that you can't put down--it kept me up until four am! Marnie Skydoitter is an heiress who's unhappy at boarding school and loses herself in the world of virtual gaming. In this world, she's the cool, controlled, and brilliant sorceress. In real life, she's flunking out of school, hated by her peers, and something darker lurks--the mystery of her recently deceased mother. Sure, the famous songster turned spiritual writer seemed to love her, but where did she come from and who was she really? A kidnapping results in her bonding with an Internet buddy, and the subsequent violence jars Marnie from her fantasy world and releases her from her internal prison of imposed self-isolation. The Edgar-winning author again proves herself mystery mistress with an intriguing concept and character, fascinating psychological elements, plot twists that surprise, all of which lift her book above others in the mystery genre.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Marnie Skyedottir, 16, is a poor little rich girl whose mother was a famous singer/guru. Orphaned, disaffected, and uninspired, the teen turns to an online computer game seeking thrills. Marnie becomes besotted with the balance of danger and control she can exert with her virtual persona. Soon, life imitates art as she becomes caught up in real-world intrigue when a teacher at her private girls' school abducts her and holds her at gunpoint before turning the weapon on herself. Realizing that she is locked inside on many levels, Marnie takes a journey to freedom that entails opening each door, one at a time. One of these doors sequesters secrets of her mother's past. Though it's unfortunate that the author's introduction of abuse and violence here verge on sensationalism, the book still works well as a thriller. The pacing is fast and the story unfolds logically, enabling readers to keep track of all the strands in the plot. The author successfully explores the layers of the theme to build interest and suspense. Characters are consistently drawn. One of the most successful is that of the "Elf," Marnie's online gaming partner whose virtual appeal turns real when they become co-captives. He enables the blocked Marnie to leverage her locked-up emotions and abilities.-Lisa Denton, J. S. Russell JHS, Lawrenceville, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
School Library Journal

Gr 6-10

Using the persona of "the Sorceress," 16-year-old Marnie Skydottor, the orphaned child of the famous but mysterious gospel singer/guru Skye, is a loner and an avid role-playing gamer. She spends most of her time at her elite boarding school in her room battling with "the Elf" for dominion over the online kingdom of Paliopolis. But fantasy and reality clash unexpectedly and violently when Marnie is kidnapped by Leah Straight, her unbalanced chemistry teacher, held prisoner, and forced to listen to the woman's fantasy about being related to Skye. When "the Elf" arrives to rescue her, he too is captured and the pair must pit their problem-solving skills against the increasingly twisted logic and paranoia of their jailor. Emily Durante narrates Nancy Werlin's tale (Delacorte, 2000), capturing the essence of Marnie's passive-aggressive personality-self-confident and cocky, yet achingly alienated from those who reach out to her. However, even the excellent narration fails to rescue the story from its unbelievable plot, lack of consistent character development, and stereotypical relationships. Too many threads remain tangled at the end of the story to provide a satisfying listening experience.-Cindy Lombardo, Cleveland Public Library, OH

Midwest Book Review
Nancy Werlin's Locked Inside is one of the most original tales to appear in some time: a wealthy but spoiled girl is sent to live in an oppressive boarding school after her mother's death, and tries to escape her surroundings via computer games. When she's kidnapped, it may be her ability to play which will make the difference between life and death. Always unexpected and gripping to the end.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803733695
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/19/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

NANCY WERLIN was born in Massachusetts, where she still lives. In writing for teenagers, she always strives to combine the emotional intensity of a coming-of-age story with the page-turning tension of a suspense thriller. Nancy’s books have won numerous awards and accolades, including the Edgar award for The Killer’s Cousin, which was also named one of the “100 Best of the Best for the 21st Century” by the American Library Association. Her most recent book, The Rules of Survival, was a National Book Award Finalist. Visit her web site at www.nancywerlin.com
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2007

    Girl gets locked in campus room

    Marnie thought she was just going to have a meeting with Skye but things turned out much worse. Marnie was walking down a steep staircase to go and have a meeting with Skye. Marnie had never seen this part of the building and thought it was kind of weird having a meeting were no one else was. When Marnie got downstairs she slowly opened the door to see Skye holding a gun in her hands. As Marnie was sitting there staring at the gun in Skyes hands a whole bunch of questions were going through her head like is she going to kill me? and why does she have a gun? Marnie went over and sat down and listened to what Skye had to say, but when it was time for Skye to leave she didn't take Marnie with her. Instead she left her locked in the room. Now there was only one question to ask. Did she make it out alive? I really liked the whole book, but my favorite part was when she got out of the room and saw Skye standing there with a gun in her hands. That was my favorite part because it left you thinking what will happen next. I don't think I would have changed anything because I think the whole book was really good. I would recommend it to anybody who likes mysteries or thrillers. Because it left you with a whole bunch of questions at the end of each chapter which I think is a really good way to end a story. My rating on the book I would give it a 10 out of 10 because I thought it was a really good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    A Deeper Look Into The World Of Nancy Werlin's Locked Inside

    This book was thrilling and kept you guessing until the end and even then the ending took you for surprise. The story remained compelling and the characters played their roles perfectly. It was an excellent novel and is a great story for anyone with an interest in the virtual world as well as the world of misunderstood teens who rely on hiding themselves to actually live their lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2006

    Excellent Young Adult Fiction!

    This is a haunting tale centering around a young and *soon* to be wealthy young woman called Marnie Skyedottir. Marnie is the daughter of the late 'Skye', a spiritual singer and author who was a famous, and even somewhat infamous celebrity who perished in a plane crash when Marnie was eleven years old. Marnie is a student at an elite boarding school but frequently attempts to alienate her classmates and teachers and retreats to a colorful online game called 'Paliopolis' to escape her troubles. She has almost become an expert at the internet game and becomes friends with another Paliopolis gamer simply called the 'Elf', who as the book continues, figures prominently into her real life. However, Marnie is suddenly thrust out of the safe confines of her room and online game, when she is kidnapped by a maniacal chemistry teacher at her school called Leah Slaight. Leah Slaight is utterly obsessed with her late mother and has convinced herself and attempts to convince Marnie that SHE is also the daughter of Skye and Marnie's sister. The bulk of the novel illustrates the terror Marnie experiences being locked in the confines of Leah's dank basement and truly explores the depth of her captor's desolate madness. There is brilliant character development and the story never wavers in its intensity or surprising twists. Will Marnie escape from the insanity of Leah Slaight? Is Leah perhaps telling the truth? You have to read the book to find out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2004

    Locked Inside

    Locked Inside by Nancy Werlin is an extremely slow read. It¿s a novel that takes place in modern day Mississippi. The story starts off with a teenage girl that has lost her parents in a terrible plane accident years ago. She now goes to a boarding school where she has been kidnapped, and it tells how her and her friends and family deals with it. Marnie Skyedottir, a sixteen-year-old high school junior, lost her parents when she was only eleven. She attends the boarding school Halsett Academy for Girls because she has chosen not to live in New York with her guardian Max Tomlinson. She refuses to take part in any school related activities, nor does she even go home for holidays. She would much rather just sit in her dark dorm room with her eyes glued to the computer playing internet games and communicating with one of the other players, Elf, for hours at a time. It soon becomes an obsession. She refuses to take part in anything that has anything to with her preppy girls¿ school. Her grades start to fall, and she doesn¿t seem to care. Some of her teachers start to reach out to her, one of which is her Chemistry teacher, Ms. Slaight. Marnie eventually goes in after school to make-up some of her work that she has missed. When she gets there she immediately notices that there is something unusual about Ms. Slaight. She is wearing make up, her hair is fixed, and she has a new dress, and she is in an unusually good mood. She tells Marnie that when she is donewith the test, they have lunch reservations at a very elegant restaurant because she wants them to start over and be friends. Before they even get their food Ms. Slaight revals the whole reason for taking Marnie out. She wants to talk about Marnie¿s mom, Skye. Marnie gets fed up and walks out of the restaurant. Her teacher meets her down the road after getting the car and forces her into the car. She soon stops the car one more time and makes her get out and hits her in the head and knocks her out. When Marnie wakes up she finds herself in a cement cell, alone. This is an extremely boring book. It¿s a very slow read. The main character Marnie spends the first half of the book sitting in front of the computer exercising her fingers. I don¿t think that she ever actually gets up and does anything until chapter 10. It¿s one of those books that you can read forever and just never get into. Nancy Werlin wrote this book intending it to be a suspenseful mystery, but it doesn¿t make you wonder what is going to happen next. This novel is a mystery with no mystery at all. I do not recommend this book to many teenagers. This book has no excitement and really no story line at all. This would not be a book that I recommend anyone to read whether it be for a class project or a rainy day. Locked Inside is altogether a boring book that will be easy to walk away from.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2002

    An amazeing thriller i couldnt put down!

    i loved it! i loved the way she brought back charachters from 'a killers cousin' and i thought i could really relate to Marnie's personality. i think everyone should read this book! i cant wait to read her next novel!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2002

    great book

    Locked inside was a great book. once again nancey werlin out did herself...the author of the killer's cousin. this book was a page turner and so interesting. two thumbs up lol

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    Posted October 6, 2009

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    Posted February 23, 2009

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    Posted July 21, 2009

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