Written by Sarah Ellis
Lynn was standing at the bus stop when the Werther’s original toffee got stuck in her throat and blocked any air from coming in or going out. People around her panicked, yelled for help, and dialed 911. Only one quiet voice said, “I’m going to help you.” The skinny arms removed Lynn’s backpack and did the Heimlich maneuver. But before Lynn or her friends could say thank you, the stranger was gone.
So begins a most engaging story between the haves and the have nots, or the citizens and the Underlanders. It is a tale the causes readers to determine what constitutes a family, as well as what good are our material things.
The secret friendship between Lynn and Blossom causes many problems for both girls as their worlds begin to intersect and collide. A promise lightly given then broken causes fear, betrayal and heartbreak.
A truly wonderful thing about this story is that neither side presumes to save the other. Those that our world might label as the have-nots are able to continue their own lives though. They do have to move.
Subplots include an irresponsible mother who goes from boyfriend to boyfriend without ever growing up, a special needs boy, and a couple of batty professors.
Fifth grade readers and beyond will enjoy this story of discovery and friendship. Reading teachers and librarians will use this book to reinforce literacy skills and fulfill core curriculum standards. It would also be an excellent reader aloud for upper elementary or middle school classes.
- Title: Outside In
- Author: Sarah Ellis
- Publisher: Groundwood Books, Toronto, April 2014
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardcover, 206 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-55498-367-4
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Grade Level: 5-8