The Outs by E.S. Wesley

Challenge #2 ~ “A book with at least 2 perspectives.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

It may be a break from the typical Friday-review schedule, but The Outs is out! Wesley presents a host of strong, realistic characters that are more than just your average teenagers with a silly and unnecessary romantic backstory, alongside a quirky science fiction plotline sure to raise a few moral questions among any curious reader.

When I first picked up The Outs I wasn’t at all sold on it. Wesley begins by simply launching into the story, for which the phrase “thrown in at the deep end” is certainly apt. I found myself struggling through the first few chapters with no real idea what was going on, not at all helped by the intelligibility of Kitzi’s communication. Whilst this is an honest reflection of aphasia, there was no attempt within the prose to present any of the information she was trying to convey until later in the novel where this is handled much better. Similarly, whilst the confusion mirrors the sense among society as to quite what the Outs are, there was still a lack of basic details that made it more frustrating than intriguing.

I have to say, however, that after this difficult start, the book certainly picked up. Once the reader had managed to establish a basic understanding of the Outs, the plot became twisting and clever, accompanied by some fantastic characters and a great use of language – the description is really applaudable in parts. My only qualm past the start would be on a slight repetitive element to the plot – there were a considerable number of encounters with Deeds, to the extent that they became a bit monotonous and lacked the lustre and suspense they’d started with.

Overall, I’d say The Outs is a solid read. The start is by far the weakest part of the novel, but it is worth pushing through. Wesley’s characters are a great example of how young adult characterisation should be done, with a well-researched presentation of aphasia (allowing it to be simply one element of the character, rather than their whole identity). Furthermore, Wesley doesn’t fall into the typical and unnecessary romance traps associated with a male and female protagonist pair, giving a refreshing science fiction tale.

Recommended for fans of:

  • The Enemy by Charles Higson
  • Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld
  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff


N.B.: This ebook was received from NetGallery in return for a reflective and honest review.


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