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Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.
About the Author
Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.
Read an Excerpt
A vibration rippled through my body. I awoke in semi-darkness, unsure of my location. Reaching out with my hands, I felt smooth sides arching up and in. My fingers touched overhead. Pipe.
A distant roar caused unease, but with sleep fogging my mind, I couldn't quite grasp its significance. The pipe's vibrations increased as the thunder grew louder. Water. Coming toward me. Fast.
I scrambled in the narrow space. My bare feet slipped on the sleek surface of the pipe as I advanced toward a faint square of bluelight emanating from the open hatch. It seemed an impossible distance to reach.
Cogon's voice in full lecture mode echoed in my mind as the water rushed closer. "Someday, Trella. You'll screw up and there will be bits of you raining out of the showers."
I reached the hatch and dove headfirst through the opening, convinced the water rushed at my heels. Landing on the hard floor, I shot to my feet and slammed the door shut. When I finished sealing the hatch, the whole pipe shuddered, then the vibrations calmed as the water returned to its normal flow. The metal cooled under my fingers, and I leaned my sweaty forehead against it, catching my breath.
That was close. Soft bluelight glowed all around the water-filtering machinery. Hour eighteen: I knew by the rush of water. The upper workers adhered to a strict schedule.
I checked my tool belt to make sure nothing was broken and my flashlight still worked. Then I climbed from the ductwork and made my way to level two by taking a shortcut through an air conduit. Traveling through the pipes and air shafts, I avoided seeing my fellow scrubs. But my peace and quiet ended too soon as I opened the vent, swung down and landed in the middle of a crowded corridor, scattering scrubs.
Someone knocked into me. "Watch it!"
"Come to mingle with the lowly scrubs, your highness?" A mocking bow.
Used to curses and hostile glares, I shrugged. The mass of people in the tight corridor jostled and pushed me along. Life in the lower two levels teamed with scrubs at all hours of the week. They moved from work to their barracks and back to work. We were called scrubs because rust and dust were the twin evils of Inside and must be kept at bay; however, scrubs also maintained the network of mechanical systems which kept both uppers and lowers alive.
The scrubs shoved. They frowned. They complained. I hated every one of them. Except Cog. No one hated Cog. He listened. Empathized with tales of misery. Made people smile. A rare occurrence—as rare as a person like Cogon.
I headed toward the cafeteria in Sector G2. It stayed open around the clock. As far as I could tell, Inside's length and width equaled a square with four levels. All constructed with sheet metal. Overall measurements, by my calculations—for reasons unknown Inside's exact dimensions and specifications were classified—were two thousand meters wide by two thousand meters long by twenty-five meters high. Each level was divided into nine areas.
If I drew a square with two lines across and two lines down inside it, I would end up with nine smaller squares. The first row's three squares would be labeled A, B and C, the next row D, E and F, and the last row G, H and I. With this configuration, there were four Quadrants A, C, G and I, which were Inside's corners, and five Sectors B, D, E, F and H. That was the basic map of each level. Boring, unoriginal, and predictable to say the least.
The cafeteria and dining room for the lower two levels encompassed all of Sector G2. The number two meant it was on the second level. Even a four-hundred-week-old scrub couldn't get lost. Hydroponics resided directly below in Sector G1—the lowest level—making it easy for the food growers to send vegetables to the kitchen scrubs.
The hot, musty smell of people packed together greeted me at the cafeteria's door as the noise of them slammed into me. I paused, deciding if eating was worth being in the same room with so many scrubs. My stomach growled, overruling my reluctance.
The line to get food remained perpetually long. I took a tray and waited, ignoring the stares. Most scrubs changed from their work clothes to wear the drab green off-duty jumpers before eating, but I was scheduled to scour an air duct at hour twenty. So I remained in my formfitting uniform. The slippery dark blue fabric covered every inch of skin except for my hands, feet and head. The material helped me slide through the tight heating ducts when I cleaned them. And I didn't care if I was the only person not wearing moccasins. My mocs were back at my bunk in Sector F1. With so many scrubs around to clean, the floor didn't even have a chance to become dirty.
Pushing my tray along the metal shelf, I pointed to what I wanted from three different choices. The big containers held either green-, yellow- or brown-colored slop, and they all smelled like moldy vegetables. The food was easy to prepare, easy to cook and best of all easy to reuse. I didn't even bother reading the names of the dishes. If the kitchen staff called it a casserole, a quiche, a stew or a soup, it all tasted the same. A pulpy, leafy spinach flavor dominated the other ingredients lurking in the recipe.
To be fair to the cooks, hydroponics didn't offer much in the way of variety. Mass production of the hardier vegetables had replaced diversity, and there was only so much a person can do with mutton. I didn't want to be fair, though. I just wanted something different to eat.
After being served, I found an empty seat, and let the discord of multiple conversations roll over me.
"Where've you been?" a voice asked over the din. I looked up at Cog's broad face as he pressed into a seat next to mine.
"Working," I said.
"You were supposed to be done at hour ten."
I shrugged. "Got to make sure the pipes are squeaky clean for the uppers."
"Yeah. Like it would take you that long," Cog said. "You were sleeping in the pipes again."
"You're going to get hurt—"
"Who'd care? One less scrub to feed."
"Grumpy, aren't we? What's the matter, Trella? Get wet?" Cog smirked, but couldn't hold the expression for more than a second. He was soon smiling, unaffected by my mood.
"Shouldn't you be changing a fan belt or something?" I asked, trying to be nasty, but Cog ignored me, knowing it was all an act—although with any other scrub, I wouldn't be acting.
He nodded to scrubs passing our table, calling out hellos and sharing his smile.
"How's the shower head in washroom E2?" Cog asked one man.
"Much better," the man replied.
I had no interest in mundane details so I tuned out their conversation. Instead, I contemplated my only friend. Too big to fit into the pipes, Cog worked with the maintenance crew and did odd jobs. Most of it busy work, just like scrubbing. Too many idle hands had been deemed dangerous by the upper workers.
Scrubs also labored in the recycling plant, the infirmary, the care facility, hydroponics, the kitchen, the livestock yard, solid-waste facility or in the waste-water treatment plant. Most scrubs were assigned their jobs. A Care Mother noted the skills and aptitudes of each of her charges and recommended positions. My smaller size automatically matched me as a cleaning scrub. It suited me just fine.
"When's your next shift?" Cog asked.
"Good. Someone wants to meet you." Cog's eyes held an avid glow.
"Not another prophet. Come on, Cog, you know better."
"But this time—"
"Probably just like the last time, and the time before and the five times before that. All talk. No action, pushing false hope. You know they have to be employed by the upper officials to keep the scrubs from rioting."
"Trell, you're jaded. Besides, he asked for you by name. Said you were the only one who could help him." Cog seemed to think this divine calling should impress me.
"I have better things to do with my time." I picked up my tray, intent on leaving.
"Like sleeping in the pipes? Pretending you're all alone, instead of crammed in here with everyone else?"
I scowled at him. My fiercest frown, which usually resulted in some breathing room.
Cog stepped closer. "Come on. Hear the guy out."
Again, his face glowed with the conviction of a true believer. Poor Cog, I thought. How can he set himself up for another crushing disappointment? How can I turn him down? Especially when he was the only one who remained my friend despite my abuse. And who'd watched out for me, growing up in the care facility together.
"Okay. I'll listen, but no promises," I said. Perhaps I could expose this prophet as a fraud to keep Cog from becoming too involved.
Dumping our trays in the wash bins, we left the cafeteria. Cog led the way through the main corridors of the second level toward the stairs in Quad A2.
The narrow hallways of Inside had been constructed with studded metal walls painted white. Only Pop Cops' posters, spewing the latest propaganda, scrub schedules and the list of proper conduct could decorate common area walls on levels one and two. At least the massive bundles of greenery in every section of Inside helped break up the monotony. Although, if the plants weren't needed to clean the air, I was sure the Pop Cops would remove those, too.
I would never have had the patience to fight my way along the main paths, but Cog's thick body left a wake behind him. I followed along in this space, walking without effort and without touching anyone. A moment of peace.
We descended the wide metal steps. Cold stabbed the soles of my feet and I wished I had worn my mocs. Bare feet were useful in the air ducts, but not in the main throughways.
Cog led me to Sector B1. This prophet showed some intelligence. Sector B1 was filled with laundry machines. Rows upon rows of washers and dryers lined up like soldiers waiting for orders. The laundry was the most populated area, it had the largest number of workers, and every scrub in the lower levels came here for fresh uniforms.
Surrounded by a throng, the prophet had set himself up on an elevated dais near the break room so everyone could see him.
"…conditions are deplorable. The uppers have rooms to themselves and yet you sleep in barracks. But your suffering will not go unrewarded. You'll find peace and all the room you want Outside." The prophet's voice was strong. His words could be heard over the hiss and rattle of the machines.
I leaned over to Cog. "The wheelchair's a different touch. He'll gain the sympathy vote. What's his name?"
"Broken Man," Cog said with reverence.
I barked out a laugh. The prophet stopped speaking and focused his gray eyes on me. I stared back.
"You find something amusing?" Broken Man asked.
Cog stepped in front of me. "This is Trella."
The man in the wheelchair snapped his mouth shut in surprise. Obviously, I wasn't what he had expected.
"Children, I must speak with this one in private," he said.
I had to stifle another snort of disbelief. As if there was such a thing as privacy in the lower levels.
The crowd dispersed, and I was face-to-face with the latest prophet. Long blond hair, thin narrow face and no calluses on his hands. There were no blonds in the lower levels. Hair dye was a luxury reserved for the uppers only.
"Trella," he said in a deep, resonant voice.
"Look," I said. "You're more than welcome to seduce these sheep," I waved my hand at the working scrubs. "But don't sing your song of a better place to Cog. When you go back upstairs to reapply your hair dye, I don't want him left hurting."
"Trell," Cog said, shooting me a warning look.
"You don't believe me?" Broken Man asked.
"No. You're just an agent for the Pop Cops. Spewing the same bull about how our hard work will be rewarded after we're recycled. Oh, you might stick around for a hundred weeks or so, but then you'll be gone with the next shift and another 'prophet' will take your place." I cocked my head to the side, considering. "Maybe the next guy will have a missing limb. Especially if your wheelchair angle works."
Broken Man laughed, causing the nearby scrubs to glance over at us. "Cog said you would be difficult, but I think he spoke too kindly." He studied my face.
Impatient, I asked, "What do you want?"
"I need your expertise," Broken Man said.
"You know every duct, corridor, pipe, shortcut, hole and ladder of Inside. Only you will be able to retrieve something I need."
"How did you know?"
"I've heard rumors about the Queen of the Pipes. Cogon confirmed them."
I glared at my friend. The scrubs in my Care group had given me the title and not because they admired my tendency to explore the ductwork. Just the opposite. They had teased me for my desire to spend time alone.
"Will you help me?" Broken Man asked.
"What is it?" I asked.
"You were right," he said. He leaned forward and lowered his voice. "I used to live in the upper levels."
I stepped back in alarm.
"No," he rushed to assure me, "I'm not part of the Population Control Police. What do you call them? Pop Cops? I worked as an air controller, keeping track of the air systems, making sure the filters were clean and the oxygen levels breathable." Broken Man opened his mouth wide and pointed to a large gap in his bottom back teeth. "See the space for my port?"
"Anyone can have missing teeth," I said. "I know a lady in Sector D1 who'll get rid of anything you want. Including body parts."
Broken Man rubbed a hand over his face. His long thin fingers traced a graceful line down his throat. "Look. I have to spout the propaganda. If I tell the scrubs Gateway exists and the Pop Cops are lying to them, the Pop Cops will recycle me."
I felt as though he'd shot a stunner at my chest. He mentioned Gateway in a matter-of-fact tone. Gateway was a myth in the lower levels. The Pop Cops insisted no physical doorway existed to Outside. But stories and rumors circulated despite their claims, and everyone liked to speculate on its location.
The Pop Cops' prophets preached that Outside could only be attained after a person's life ends. And only if the person worked hard and obeyed Inside's laws. If a scrub was worthy, his inner soul would travel to Outside while his physical body would be fed to Chomper.
Most of the scrubs believed this Pop Cop dribble. I didn't. Souls were a myth and our bodies stayed trapped Inside.
"Come again?" I asked Broken Man.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Though I have never officially reviewed any of Maria V. Snyder's books before, I am a long time fan. Her Poison Study trilogy got a second read-through from me, which rarely happens. I will also recommend Poison Study to just about anyone who asks me for a good book recommendation. Her Glass series is equally excellent and I am looking forward to the conclusion this fall. So suffice it to say I was absolutely stoked to know she would be releasing a young adult book! Trella lives Inside, a futuristic place where people are treated like scrubs and worthless machines. Trella is an anti-social teen - she'd rather sleep in the pipes she is assigned to clean than mingle with the other scrubs. Because of this, others call her the Queen of the Pipes. She has accepted her dreary life as just another hard-working scrub in the Lower Levels. Her best friend Cog (like the machine part) is a believer, one of many who perpetrate a rumor of the Gateway, or a way out of Inside. During some of her usual work shift mischievousness, she falls (literally!) into the friendship of an Upper named Riley, and her whole world changes. This meeting sparks a series of events that will push Trella's skills and beliefs to the limits. But along the way, she learns she may have more to believe in after all. One word can sum it all up for me: WOW. Just... WOW. Once I had started reading it, walking away was out of the question. This was a fantastic distopian vision of a future life. Inside was terrifying and claustrophobic. Snyder has a tendency to write strong female characters with seemingly endless amounts of stamina, and Trella falls into this role nicely. The action sequences were not only supremely intense, but there were many of them. My heart raced, my blood pounded, and I swear I even held my breath once or twice. And all racing towards an ending that left me gasping for more. I also feel strongly that both boys and girls will like Maria Snyder's stories, as they all have tons of action plus plenty of intimate elements as well. If you have never tried Maria V. Snyder before, this is definitely the one to start with! All of this is making me wonder: when is the movie coming out?!
Trella is a scrub - but she's not your average scrub. She has one friend and prefers to spend her time in the pipes rather than with the overcrowded living quarters of the other scrubs. They're forced to clean the Inside for the Uppers. Trella doesn't know much about the world, but when her friend comes to her and says there's someone who wants to meet her, she's suspicious. What she discovers is something she never imagined. Unknowingly, she starts a revolution. Now, people who once scorned her are helping her complete tasks, steal food, and giving her valuable information, all for the hopes of a better life. Everyone wants to know what's on the Outside. Everywhere Trella goes, danger follows. The Pop Cops have captured her best friend. He's sentenced to die if she doesn't get to him in time. They're watching her every move and questioning her acquaintances. Plus, she doesn't know who to trust. She's going by her instincts, but the last time a rebellion occurred, the leaders were betrayed. Trella's hoping she trusts the right people and, with time running out, hoping that they find something that makes all their sacrifices worthwhile. Inside Out is an edge-of-your-seat science fiction action adventure ride filled with twists and turns you'll never see coming. Maria V. Snyder has quickly become a favorite author of mine. I love her Glass series and her Study series. I can't wait to see what she and Trella have in store for us in the next book of this series.
Interesting summary up there. I have to be honest. I put off reading this book for awhile because of that summary. I'm not exactly sure why, but maybe it's because I prefer a little more information than what was given. That's just my preference and I know not everyone feels the same way. Either way, I finally got around to reading it and I'm glad I did. Inside Out was friggin amazing. There is something about Maria V. Snyder's writing that I absolutely adore. I loved the Study series, and if it's even possible, I might have loved this book more. The characters were impeccably written. The story was fantastic and suspenseful. The setting was out of this world. Snyder's writing is perhaps a perfect balance of all the things that matter. Everything that makes a book special was there. She makes you care about her characters and her plots are like a movie on paper. I think I like the settings of dystopian novels the best. They are always fantastic and special. There is great world building to be found in them. The hiding in the pipes and the Pop Cops. And then there was the rebelling of the scrubs and Trella sneaking into the upper-levels. The setting and the events that took place in it were just so vivid and compelling. If I have one complaint, it's that I think Trella and the other scrubs got out of sticky situations too easily. Just when you thought something was over for them, they would get saved in an all too convenient way. This happened more towards the end and I found myself thinking, "too easy!" on several occasions. But it is what it is. It was still a fantastic book. I totally want to read the next one, and I will as soon as I can get my hands on it. If you like dystopian novels, I'm pretty sure this will be satisfying. I thought it was pretty special, and it is one I will likely read again in the future if I ever have time to re-read another book. Unlikely.
I didn't automatically gravitate to this book. I received a copy for review and it just sat there on my bookshelf waiting. I'm ashamed that I let it sit there for so long because when I did read it, it blew me away. Science Fiction is something I've always had a love-hate relationship with. It all started with the original Stargate movie and the X-Files. It's never really a first pick for me as far as reading goes. But Inside Out might have changed my mind. The entire concept is what i truly loved about this book. The fact that you don't know where Inside is until the very end leaves you hanging on suspense through the whole story (but in a good way). Inside is a very structured place, everyone has a job to do and is expected to do it...unless they want to have a date with the prop cops who'll most likely throw them in a machine that turns you into plant fertilizer. I really have to give Snyder props for world building. Not only did she create a structured and believable world but it was also fun and interesting. Sure it wasn't as complex as say...Harry Potter but it was still pretty awesome. The politics of Inside could have easily been confusing but there explained so well that it just works. Trella is officially a favorite YA female heroine. She is strong and independent, sure she has her flaws (like her stubbornness) but who doesn't have flaws? The journey she goes through in this book is an exiting, fast paced, emotional one. Her world basically crumbles and starts to rebuild from the ground up. She goes from being one in thousands of scrubs to being the 'go-to girl to lead a revolution'. She starts to fall in love for the first time, looses a beloved friend, and finds out she has a family. This book is filled with awesome, interesting characters. The tec-nos are probably my favorite...well aside from Riley. If your looking for a fast passed fun and interestingly different read, you should definitely check this one out. Excuse me while i go read Outside in....
Trella is a scrub - but she's not your average scrub. She has one friend and prefers to spend her time in the pipes rather than with the overcrowded living quarters of the other scrubs. They're forced to clean the Inside for the Uppers. Trella doesn't know much about the world, but when her friend comes to her and says there's someone who wants to meet her, she's suspicious. What she discovers is something she never imagined. Unknowingly, she starts a revolution. Now, people who once scorned her are helping her complete tasks, steal food, and giving her valuable information, all for the hopes of a better life. Everyone wants to know what's on the Outside. Everywhere Trella goes, danger follows. The Pop Cops have captured her best friend. He's sentenced to die if she doesn't get to him in time. They're watching her every move and questioning her acquaintances. Plus, she doesn't know who to trust. She's going by her instincts, but the last time a rebellion occurred, the leaders were betrayed. Trella's hoping she trusts the right people and, with time running out, hoping that they find something that makes all their sacrifices worthwhile. With INSIDE OUT, Maria V. Snyder leads readers on an edge-of-your-seat science fiction adventure ride filled with twists and turns you'll never see coming. Snyder has quickly become a favorite author of mine. I can't wait to see what she and Trella have in store for us in the next book of this series.
Im not really into this genre of books, but I had to read this book for school. I have to admit I really enjoyed it.
Inside Out by Maria V. Synder Inside Out by Maria V. Synder is a dystopian society where people live in an underground cube divided into levels. Their population is divided into two sets, the Scrubs and the Uppers. The Scrubs do all the hard work, keeping their world working and clean while the Uppers basically sit on their butts and tell the Scrubs what to do. The Scrubs live in the lower levels in cramped close quarters while the Uppers live in better conditions. The Queen of the Pipes, Trella is the protagonist. She is a tough, loner who has few friends and does not trust easily. Cogan, Trella’s best friend tells her that there is a new prophet, Broken Man, who says he knows where the Gateway (entrance to the outside) is located. Trella wants Cogan to stay away from Broken Man so he doesn’t get fed to Chomper and die. Trella sets out to prove that Broken Man is a liar but ends up starting a revolution instead. I thought the characters were intriguing. You can see the growth of Trella’s character throughout the book. Some of the secondary characters could have been developed a bit more but it does not detract from the story. The world that Snyder has developed comes alive with her vivid descriptions. Snyder’s writing style and use of imagery, allows the reader to experience the life of a scrub. You feel the heat, the humidity, you hear the overwhelming noise that everyone is making, you smell the nasty body odor from the person next to you, and you feel the hopelessness and despair that they must feel. I think it takes a special writer to stir and conjure up such actions from its readers. Snyder is that such writer. Inside Out does start out a bit slow but I think it needs to so you get to know and have a better understanding of the dystopian world. Inside Out is a definite must read and I can’t wait to read Outside In next. 4.4 Stars
Excellent book with a great story.
A good book, but it takes forever to get past a page. Its a slow but good book.
I think there was a good plot however, there was some confusion in the minor details but overall I really enjoyed it and thougjt it was a unique setting
I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy reading Inside Out. Actually, I kind of loved it. The characters are interesting - Trella is your typical kick ass snarky heroine, but I always adore that. The world is rich and new, and I got sucked into the plot line. I just kept mentally comparing it to some strange combination of City of Ember and WALL-E. Don't get me wrong - it's a fantastic book. But the whole concept seemed some twisted combination of Maria's imagination, the basic idea from City of Ember with some WALL-E thrown in for a little spice. However, I did enjoy reading it - the character growth was amazing. I noticed the change-in-character without the character ever losing sight of who she was. And the romantic plot line was pretty amazing. Considering most of the HarlquinTeen novels so far have been right out, for the romance part, 'Oh, look, this is the romance plot line. It's predictable. Here's an epic fantasy novel surrounding it,' it was nice to see one where I still had to guess a little on which way it would go. I feel like this review is all over the place. XD But that's what this next section is for, isn't it?
Maria V. Snyder always strikes gold...it's a no brainer anymore to be honest. I'm not sure why I waited so long to dive into this one, but regardless it was well worth the wait. I'm already of course anxious to get to the store so I can pick up the second installment and see what is in store for Trella and the rest of Snyder's characters next. I'll admit I wasn't sure what to expect going into this one other than what little description readers are given with the back cover. I knew it would be a lot different than the other books Snyder has out in stores, and I wasn't quite sure that would be a good thing or a bad thing. I think I just failed to realize that whether it's completely different from her other stories or riding along the same wavelength, it doesn't matter as long as it's got Snyder's signature writing style. She's always maintained a fast paced storyline and it's also always jam packed with action and adventure. This series seems to be no different and Snyder has made me a fan of yet another one of her main characters, in Trella, this go around. Her female leads are always strong willed, stubborn, and yet endearing to readers without even trying that hard. It's hard not to sympathize with Trella and the rest of those who live in the lower levels in the horrible conditions they have no way around. And until Trella meets Riley, I was on the "We hate the Uppers" bandwagon. But of course he changed my opinion as well as Trella's eventually. It's still touch and go throughout the whole storyline of who can she trust, what will happen next, and will the rebellion have a positive outcome or a terrible one? Bottom line...if you're a Snyder fan, this book will only enhance that opinion you have of her writing! I'm off to grab a copy of Outside In, the second installment in her Insider series, and I can't wait!
This book was great! It's action with a hint of love story. I really enjoyed reading it.
Awesome book. It really had your mind thinking. I was very interested in this book and cannot wait to read Outside In