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Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Reading Dark Inside is a bit like touring the various rooms in a Halloween Haunted House, or more aptly a house of horror. Every room (chapter) brings fresh shock and horror. Between massive earthquakes, humans going crazy and destroying one another, and communication shut off to everyone there’s enough action to remind one of a Stephen King horror flick.

It started with explosions at schools and the massive earthquakes which hit many places in the world at once. Millions have died, thousands have turned into “baggers” (killers) and others are just trying to survive the horror of it all. Normally sane people have been infected with rage and the desire to wreak havoc on their fellow human beings. In alternating chapters, we read the stories of Clementine, Michael, Aries, and Mason, four young people who have somehow escaped being turned into killing machines. Using every ounce of human courage they have, each rallies and even manages to find others like themselves. Somehow they survive, finding food and shelter when and where they can. In one chapter, Mason looks at the devastation around him: “There were dead bodies alongside the road. Burnt. Mouths open in silent agony. The crazy monsters roaming around the city must have chased them into the fire. Which was worse? Dying at the hands of insane people or burning alive? He wasn’t sure.”

It doesn’t matter what city or town one lives in, it seems; all has gone haywire. The only possibly answer seems to be that humanity has become diseased—one giant pandemic. Were the earthquakes the source or just an excuse? Had the world been waiting to go insane all along?

While this is a young adult book and the main protagonists are young people, there’s nothing juvenile about it. It’s just plain scary and even adults reading it will find themselves appalled at many points. Having said that, I could not quit reading. One reviewer said the only discouraging thing about it was the ending because he wanted more. I agree. Sequel, Jeyn Roberts?

-Ginny

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