Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes is about a girl called Ele who has been locked into a tower all of her life. She has never seen the outside world, let alone been in it. In the tower, she has herself, the Others and Him. The Others have been in the tower with her for as long as she’s lived. Also in the tower is Him. We don’t know what his real name is or where he’s from, but we know that he dispenses the “feed” and turns on the “sun bars” on the ceiling in the morning.
She has only had three books with her: An Encyclopedia of British Trees, an alphabet book and a book of fairy tales. When she finds a hole in the wall, she plans to escape to the Outside…
What I thought about it
Spoilers in this section – proceed at your own risk!
I thought it was an interesting book, as Ele had never had any experience of the outside world before. You could say that the story redefined what “outside” meant. I can’t really say much without giving anything away, but what I can say it was extremely interesting on how it all turned out.
She had to learn what the “outside” words meant – she used to call clothes “skins” and she had to learn that cars weren’t dragons and that Willow – a boy who’s shed she hides in the first night – has a dad who she, at first, calls a Giant. She also thinks cars are some form of dragons. This is fascinating as most of us have never thought about our cars being “dragons” and a man who she thinks is a Giant – clearly showing the influence fairy tales have had on Ele’s interpretation of the world.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book – it is very eye-opening and exciting: you never know what is going to happen next.