Cover image for Inside out
Inside out
Trueman, Terry.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperTempest, [2003]

Physical Description:
117 pages ; 19 cm
A sixteen-year-old with schizophrenia is caught up in the events surrounding an attempted robbery by two other teens who eventually hold him hostage.
Reading Level:
710 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.6 3.0 73391.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.6 8 Quiz: 34884 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
Collins Library X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



Zach Wahhsted is used to hearing these brutal words. But today he isn't the only one in danger of dying.

A busy coffee shop -- a robbery gone wrong. Two gunmen, nine hostages, flash-ing lights, itchy trigger fingers. And Zach, a seemingly ordinary teenager, is caught in the middle of the mayhem.

But nobody realizes that Zach -- who has no gun and no knife -- has a mind more dangerous than any weapon.

Never what he seems and always on the edge, Zach is an unforgettable character in a new book by Terry Trueman that is filled with the same shocking power and heartbreaking compassion as his Printz Honor Book, stuck in neutral.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. Sixteen-year-old Zach isn't frightened when two armed teenagers hold up the coffee shop where he's waiting for his mother. The thing is, Zach says, I'm used to seeing and hearing really weird stuff. In his second novel, the author of Stuck in Neutral (2000) takes readers inside the mind of a schizophrenic teenager. Excerpts from Zach's psychiatric records interweave with his first-person account of the dramatic robbery, offering readers the medical facts as well as Zach's personal story, especially the terror and confusion he feels when he can't distinguish between the real and the imagined. The narrative blend isn't entirely successful. The facts often feel clumsily inserted, and Zach's unreliable voice doesn't allow his story to develop fully. The shocking ending also feels tacked on. But Trueman sometimes captures moments of heartbreaking truth, and his swift, suspenseful plot will have particular appeal to reluctant readers. Suggest Angelaohnson's Humming Whispers (1995) and Lisa Rowe Fraustino's Ash (1995) for more nuanced stories about a young person living with the illness. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Trueman paints a vivid story of three desperate teens that recalls Robert Cormier, with its dark, disturbing theme and a narrative that shifts from one plot thread to another in rapid-fire succession. Sixteen-year-old Zach Wahhsted is battling schizophrenia-and the two voices in his head ("Dirtbag" and "Rat") that constantly urge him to commit suicide. As the story opens, he waits at a coffee shop after school for his mother to arrive with his medicine. But before she gets there, two teenage boys attempt to rob the cafe. When the police arrive, the pair takes Zach and a half-dozen others hostage at gunpoint. While the young robbers frantically struggle to figure out how to end the standoff, Zach slowly begins to feel the effects of his medicine wearing off. Trueman, who has utilized a narrator with a compromised point of view before (the narrator suffered from cerebral palsy in his debut Stuck in Neutral), does a convincing job of gradually unspooling the three tightly drawn plot lines-Zach's impending mental meltdown, the touching story of what prompted the boys to attempt the robbery, and Zach's background, revealed through excerpted letters to his psychiatrist. Despite the suspenseful story line, this is ultimately a book about understanding and empathy; the climax is surprising, logical and moving. Fans of Cormier will likely enjoy this psychological and gripping tale. Ages 14-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-When two teenage brothers attempt to hold up a Spokane coffee shop where Zach, 16, is waiting for his mother to bring his antipsychotic meds, he is among those held hostage. Thus begins this slender, but harrowing novel that depicts the standoff between the desperate pair and the police outside-all narrated by Zach, who is driven by impulsive outbursts, hateful voices in his head, and difficulty with processing reality. Chapters open with a brief passage that illuminates the history of his illness and suicide attempt, and interventions by his mother and psychiatrist. A phone call from the police to the robbers results in freedom for the others, but Zach, now overdue for his medicine, agrees to remain hostage. An odd bonding ensues among the troubled teens, all of whom are portrayed sympathetically. With no ammunition in their guns, the brothers are basically decent boys, scared and worried about their single mother's unemployment and cancer. Tension builds when one of them is wounded by a stray police bullet. They surrender, and Zach is reunited with his mother, his meds, and the simple comfort of a maple bar he had craved. A stark news article three months later imparts word that the unexpected hero of the crisis has committed suicide, the victim of his tragic illness. Trueman uses Zach's narration to challenge readers to feel the confusion and dark struggle of schizophrenia. The effect is disturbing, if somewhat didactic. Both the grim topic and strong language in this edgy novel suggest a mature audience.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Google Preview