Book Reviews, Dystopia, Paranormal, Sci-Fi

4-Star, The Outs


Ever since the Outs started – global memory-stealing blackouts – Caleb has been plagued by a voice that pushes him to do things… Now his parents have disappeared and his dependable, honor-student ways have been replaced with those of a deadheader junkie! Now he’s kidnapped a little girl, Amanda, but isn’t sure if he did it to protect himself or her… He turns to the one friend who has stood by him, Kitzi, a girl with aphasia, and a secret of her own – she is free of her brain damage during the Outs. Kitzi and Caleb go on a wild ride with special little Amanda and maneuver through the creepy, damaged world of the Outs.

“The Outs: An unexplained global phenomenon that alters the functional laws governing electricity and prevents the formation of new memories. Many theories exist as to its nature and inception, but data is sparse, and tests cannot be performed due to the nature of the phenomenon. —Excerpt from Notes from Last Night Wikia”

Beware, this is not your typical, boring tell-all beginning where our main character vomits everything that is going on all over the reader. You are thrown right into a pretty compelling situation and you aren’t really sure what is going on as Caleb isn’t really sure himself just yet. It’s all very organic and delicious… If you hang in there you get your feet under you and understanding starts rolling towards you. It’s all pretty crazy stuff but there is a rhyme and a reason to it all. The story is all about the journey to the end so you have to be willing to roll with the punches or in this case the twists. I found this a really exciting part of the story.

The setup was so solid to me that it made it really easy to jump into events and go along for the ride. And the plot fully supports this narrative style! Lots of things are constantly happening and the characters are forced to deal with it or be trampled. Don’t think you will always be in the dark though, by 25% our characters are making some realizations of their own, though things keep happening twisting up any conclusions they and the reader may reach!

“She wished someone, anyone, would remember what happened when the power went out like she did. They’d all know it happened, of course, and they’d have their notes to describe it, but they wouldn’t remember. No one else could understand what it was like to see the shadows. … But Kitzi remembered. Worst. Superpower. Ever.”

I really, really, really loved Kitzi. She made it super easy to go along and enjoy the ride. I loved her voice and attitude especially paired with her aphasia and how the Outs allowed her to live more normally for a change! She is the heart of the story, a voice of reason and a super secret pow at the end. She is the perfect contrast to Caleb. Caleb is morally challenged and yet still is a good kid trying to do the right thing while failing miserably. Most authors would have smashed the two characters together, but I really applaud this choice to keep them separate and use them as a contrast for each other. As well as the little bonus of being each others love interest! (It’s young adult so it’s almost required to have love interests!)

Amanda is not to be left out of this little character drive. She’s super delicious as she’s such a random element while also being the common denominator in everything! Whenever she comes on the scene you know its going to be crazy and cool and such a ride! I do like Caleb a lot too. His situation with this voice is very unique and I enjoyed the crazy situations it got him into – and it was all his own free choice. He let the voice in!

“Love was more than just words, wasn’t it? It was understanding, even without the words. It was the passing of smiles, the sharing of laughs, and the awkward tingle of brushing arms. It was shaking a head when you were going to do something stupid, and a warm hand on your back when you’d done it anyway. It was knowing your darkness and accepting it and sticking with you through the worst.”

The plot and each characters role in it is very balanced between the three characters which can be pretty rare but which I enjoyed a lot! Every person in the world has their own story, their own plot that they are a part of; it should be the same for characters! We don’t play a minor role in our own lives… I don’t want to talk about any of the details because to talk about anything more than I have would give something away and you need to go into this book totally blind except for the premise, you’ll enjoy the world more that way!

The Outs itself was a very cool idea… I liked the crazy things that the premise allowed to happen. I liked how this cult following grew up around the Outs as it seemed like something a subgroup of humanity would do if this situation arose in real life. I’ve raved about this book so far, so why a 4 star? What gives? Well, some of the logic near the end was very thin to me. What I call the ‘tricks’ got way over played in a few spots. There is a lot to love about the end, just a few things didn’t add up, but in a world populated with details and with three strong stories running through it I still highly suggest this book! It’s worth it for the jabberwocky alone!

BOTTOM LINE: A powerful sci-fi/horror love story with a thread of gold running through it!

Thanks to Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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