A Review of Shalini Boland’s Outside: a Post-Apocalyptic Novel
Posted by cynthiashepp
Shalini Boland weaves a story of ‘Perimeters’ and devastation in a post-apocalyptic world. This story is told from two different character point of views, from different times in their history. Riley, a sixteen year old girl, who grew up inside the Perimeter walls, born after the terror attacks and devastation that happened to the world, and Eleanor, another teenage girl before the attacks. The ‘Perimeters’ are closed communities of people who are lucky, and rich, enough to buy safety. Others are not so lucky as poverty rampages the world, and it is a fend for yourself mentality.
Riley’s story starts off with the death of her fourteen year old sister Skye. Riley decides to go after the killer, taking along her neighbor Luc. They set off on a journey outside of the Perimeter walls that takes them through all sorts of scary and thrilling adventures. Riley, who comes to realize she has feelings for Luc, feels guilty because Skye had a major crush on him. Both Luc and Riley seem strong and reliable, though sometimes Luc seems a bit angry with Riley and Riley breaks down and has nervous episodes. I would say that it seems like character inconsistenties, but they are teenagers and ups and downs go with that ride. Their journey is one that will have you biting your fingernails and wondering what’s next. It was amazingly sweet watching them grow and learn together. The brilliance of all their plans, even when they failed, had me rooting for them through every page.
The second main character is Eleanor. Her story starts off with her as a teenager. The world seems to still be intact and you really do not follow what her role is. It becomes clear later on, though her story is interesting and enjoyable, when it clicks in your head and you are like, “Oh my God, duh!” It is amazingly complex and at once impossibly simple, and it makes you feel for her character in a split kind of way when you come to the jaw-dropping conclusion. You do not know whether to pity her, dislike her, or empathize with her. I came away with all three feelings.
Shalini Boland did a bang up job of weaving a tale of a realistic post-apocalyptic world. I would have liked to known a bit more about what happened to cause the terror attacks because that did not stand out as explained really well. Besides that, the two concurrent storylines weaved together brilliantly, taking you on a ride of twists and turns, that had you confused and speculating about what was coming next. I mean that in a good way. Books that I can figure out the plot and twists before I finish reading them are not as good as ones that leave me guessing until the bitter end. I was completely shocked at how all the events unfolded at the end. I really did not see it coming.
I did think that the epilogue gave off too much information, especially since this is the first book in a series. I think I would have been left wanting a little more than I do now without the epilogue, as it seemed to tie up most of the loose ends. Though, there is plenty of more left to make me want to read the second book, as Shalini Boland makes you curious about new characters in the epilogue.
All-in-all, I thought this book was definitely worth reading. The realness of it makes me hope that nothing like that ever happens in mine or my children’s lifetimes. If you like post-apocalyptic books, this story is for you. I love post-apocalyptic books and thought this one deserved 4 stars. Great Read!
Once again, if I have talked you into reading this book, please leave a review where you bought it. Every review helps the author. I will put a link for the book below. I hope you give it a chance.