Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: Inside Out by Terry Trueman

by Terry Trueman
YA Fiction
Ages 14 and up

This fairly short but riveting and suspenseful story is about Zach, a teen who inadvertently gets caught at a coffee shop during a robbery by two other teens. The novel takes place almost entirely during the stand-off with police, with snippets of insight into Zach's life.
Told in third person from Zach's viewpoint, we realize upon first meeting Zach that all is not quite right, and it's not long before the author allows us the truth: that Zach has schizophrenia, an incurable brain disorder.

Having worked with adults with disabilities as a Job Coordinator, some of whom had Schizophrenia, I can attest to the fact that Trueman has absolutely captured his character and the realities of this condition. Schizophrenia (whose victims almost always have higher than average intelligence) somehow affects the "wiring" in the brain, making it impossible for its victims to look at the world and situations as "average" people do, causing them to hear "voices", and making it almost impossible for them to distinguish reality from "fantasy". This is a good book to introduce your teens to this mental disorder and its real life ramifications.

Be aware that this book does contain language, including a few "F" bombs, but to me the language doesn't seem gratuitous, (although I guess one could argue that the use of bad language is always gratuitous). In this context, it seems realistic for a) the situation, and b) today's youth. Not ideal, but understandable. (If it were a movie, it would be rated R for language.)

Book published in 2003 by HarperTempest
This copy borrowed from the library.


  1. This books sounds quite interesting. I've never heard of a book that puts a mentally ill teen in a robbery situation! And, I agree that the language is probably appropriate...many people swear during stressful circumstances. Good review!

  2. This sounds good. My only "inside glimpse" of schizophrenia is from the movie 'A Beautiful Mind.' I admire a skillful writer that can write from within a troubled character.

  3. I also adore Terry Trueman. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, grab it.


  4. Kathy - I don't think there are too many books with mentally ill teens out there -at least main characters who are mentally ill.

    Janet - He indeed is very skillful at his handling of this character and those who interact with him. Hope you like it.

    Proseandkahn - (Love your name) Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. This is my first Terry Trueman book, but it definitely won't be my last.