The Outside by Laura Bickle
Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room
The Outside is the sequel to The Hallowed Ones. This is a two book series about an Amish girl, Katie, who’s about to leave her community to spend a year outside, getting to know what the rest of the world is like before she makes the tough decision to be baptized into the Amish religion or to stay on the outside. However, Katie’s plans are abruptly changed when something horrible happens to the people outside her Amish community. Humans are being attacked by vampires and those that don’t die, are changed, forever seeking the blood of other humans, no matter what might get in their way. The gates to Katie’s community are closed. No one must get in and no one must leave. But what about the Amish who were caught out? How can they not let in friends and family when they come calling? And what about a stranger who arrives wounded? Katie isn’t sure what’s keeping the vampires out of her community, but she’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way, but she’s sure the stranger isn’t a vampire. He’s just a young man in great need of help. Her actions spark the elders in her community to cast her out, along with a rescued horse, the young man, Alex, and a mother from the outside who’d been caught in the community when the gates were closed.
Now, in the second book, Katie, Ginger, Alex, and the horse, now named Horace, are on their own, doing their best to survive in a vampire riddled world, where the darkness means certain death, and even holy ground isn’t always so holy anymore. Together, they fight the darkness, make new friends they never would have otherwise, and even lose one of their own. When Katie returns to her community, she finds that things have changed, and yet, not nearly as much as she has. Will she and her friends be able to find the answers and destroy the vampires? Or is this truly the end of the world as we know it?
Both of these books were super fantastic. Yes, there are some religious overtones, however, they aren’t there to hit the reader over the head with it. I’m not a fan of religious fiction, but I enjoyed learning about the ancient religions of the world as Alex tells the stories he learned in college. He and Katie have an ongoing debate as to what’s going on in the world, is it God’s wrath or a disease that’s wiping out humanity? It’s a healthy debate, as there might not be a true answer by the end of the book. I only had one problem with this book and that was that Alex’s original plans to find his family are aborted toward the end. I’m glad he sticks with Katie, but I’d been wondering about his family and whether or not they survived. I enjoyed the romance, and the fact that it wasn’t the usual romance seen in YA novels these days. Very well done. And last, but not least, this second book was freakin’ creepy! I’m not normally afraid of the dark, and I’ve read scary books before bed in the past. But this one, I was loathe to read right before turning out the light. Those vampires are like no vampires I’ve read about before! Certainly no Lestat, or Edward Cullen for sure!
I highly recommend this if you like creepy stories and a very light romance. If you’re not into religion, that’s okay too. You can still read it, and enjoy it. I know I did.