Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Inside Out by Terry Trueman

In this very short novel, we meet Zach just at the moment the coffee shop he's sitting in is being robbed by two desperate young men.  It quickly becomes apparent that something is not quite right about Zach.  He's not scared, he doesn't seem to know when it's best to keep quiet, he's much more interested in getting a maple bar than in getting out of harm's way, and, honestly, he's not quite sure the situation he's in is even real.  When the police arrive, the robbery escalates to hostage situation.  Over the course of the next few hours, secrets will emerge.  Zach is sick, and he needs his medicine, but the people in the back room of the coffee shop need a hero, and Zach might just be the only guy who can be one.

Inside Out is a fast paced book that grips from the very first page.  In addition to the action and suspense of the coffee shop hostage situation, there's a lot going on in these few pages not the least of which is Zach's struggle against his mental illness.  In Zach's narration and intervening notes from his medical file, a door is opened into living with mental illness.  While the book is intended for a young adult audience, I found Zach's perspective illuminating, giving me a better understanding of his disease.

At the risk of spoiling such a short book, I'll say no more about the plot.  What I will say is that I was impressed with how Trueman brought a plot rich book together with a strong portrayal of a mentally ill character and gave sympathetic eye to all three of his male main characters.  If you're looking for a quick read that packs a punch, give this one a try!

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