My Rating ~ Three and a half stars
RELEASE DATE: 3 January 2019
Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s
The Proof of the Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. In this dark and compelling debut novel, Ele’s strong and heartbreakingly optimistic voice shines through, revealing an important lesson about the power of stories to save lives.
Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of Outside in exchange for an honest review.
Ele never remembers being outside, and she’s not even sure the Outside exists. But, she’s collecting evidence. She’s seen the trees and the gingerbread houses in the one storybook she’s read, and there’s Him. He comes and goes once a week, so where does he go? Once she’s gathered enough proof that the Outside exists, she’s going to try and get there.
Outside was a sad story of terrible abuse and Ele’s determination to survive. There were a few twists in the story and, although there was only one I didn’t see coming, they were well timed when they did arrive. The story is very character driven, as the first half of the book takes place in a bare, sometimes completely darkened, room, so we learn a lot about Ele, her brother Zeb and the Others. I enjoyed the story but found the writing style a little hard to read. It’s probably an unfair criticism though because I feel like it suited the book really well – it was just jarring to read the simplistic language and took me a long time to get into it because of that.
I connected more to the characters in the second half of the book, where we meet Will and his dad, Ezra. Will and Ezra are both dealing with their own difficulties surrounding the death of Will’s mother, but to be honest, I just felt really sorry for Ezra most of the time!
Outside is quite an original YA book, which deals with some pretty heavy topics, such as grief, abuse and the mental strain that can inflict on people, and has some intriguing twists. If you find the writing style a little hard going, like I did, I suggest you keep reading for the story, because it eventually fades into the background as the book progresses.