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Outside In: 12/22/14

cover art

Outside In by Sarah Ellis is about Lynn's struggle to find normalcy in her life. Lynn keeps her life busy with choir practice, school, and shopping. But home is the worst, her mother, Lynn, can't keep it together. The house needs repairs, her choir trip has to be canceled because of paperwork she's forgotten to mail, and Lynn feels like the adult in the relationship (and she always has).

When Lynn is stuck in Vancouver while her choir goes to the United States to compete, she is introduced to a side of the city she didn't know existed. Lynn meets a girl on the bus who is living off the grid. The girl lives with her family as "underlanders" instead of like the "citizens."

Outside In to me is the Canadian Neverwhere. It's not as firmly planted in the fantasy realm as Gaiman's novel, but there is an emotional kinship. Both are about homelessness and how those who aren't homeless see those who are as less than human. To others, they are even invisible. Both these books cast a light on homelessness — in London and Vancouver (and Burnaby) — and bring the humanity back into the equation.

Five stars

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