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Book Review: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

Kimberly McCreight’s The Outliers is suspenseful, intriguing, and keeps you wanting more, says our teen reviewer.

TEEN REVIEW | by Faye Berger

The Outliers is a thrilling page-turner that begins when Wylie receives a cryptic text from her best friend Cassie, begging for Wylie’s help. Cassie tells Wylie that she got abducted by unsavory characters, and she needs Wylie to rescue her. Despite troubles of her own, and her rocky relationship with Cassie, Wylie chooses to help her friend. To Wylie’s surprise, Cassie also asks her boyfriend, Jasper, to join Wylie on the journey to find Cassie.

The first half of the book explores Wylie and Jasper’s journey to find Cassie. In addition, the reader learns the history and nature of each of the characters in the book, which focuses on friendship, relationships, and the intricacies and dances among them. This part of the book was my favorite. It was suspenseful and intriguing, and it kept me wanting to read more.

The first part of the book, however, foreshadows that something bad will happen, and it does towards the end of the book. At that point, The Outliers changes from fiction to science fiction. Although this switch makes the book interesting, it completely changes the plotline. Author Kimberly McCreight is able to manage this change with great word usage, ideas, and creativity. Throughout the book, she creates relatable characters. I was fearful of the whereabouts of Cassie, I hurt for Wylie and the pain she was put through, and I feared for the lives of Cassie, Wylie, and Jasper.

There were points in this book where I could not put it down, and I would read it all through the night. There were also parts, however, that I skipped over as they dragged and lacked action.

If you are looking for a book that explores relationships, then you should read The Outliers. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery or science fiction.

Faye Berger, 15, lives in Deerfield, IL. She is Rochelle’s niece, and a fellow book lover.

PARENT REVIEW | By Rochelle B. Weinstein

We’re a family of readers, so it was no surprise that on a recent ski trip with our cousins, I found myself entangled in a verbal tug-of-war with my niece Faye over my current read, The Outliers, by author Kimberly McCreight.  The beauty of a good book connected us and we shared the journeys of our favorite characters.

McCreight tackles young adults in The Outliers, creating an intriguing blend of teenage angst that will have readers turning the pages late into the night. Wylie just lost her mom, and her Dad and twin brother can’t understand the depths of her sadness. At 17, she’s trapped in her home, a recent spate of agoraphobia making it impossible to venture out. But when she receives a plea for help from her once best friend, Cassie, Wylie sets off on a journey with twists and turns that will have the reader traveling alongside this remarkable heroine. And nothing is ever what it seems.

Wylie takes her first steps toward freedom, joined by Jasper, Cassie’s boyfriend. The pair head off into the woods while following a string of cryptic text messages. At home, Wylie’s father, who has his own arsenal of secrets, desperately tries to keep his daughter safe. At the same time,  Wylie faces circumstances that lead her to question all she knows about her father’s work and the ominous Outliers. Who can she trust? There lies the question that weaves itself through this well-laid out story. There are many layers to dig through. Buckle up!

The beginning of the book captivated me as I was drawn into Wylie’s mental state and the impact from losing her mother. I did not see the big plot twist coming—many won’t. But as an adult, I was left wanting to explore the dynamics of Wylie’s fragility and her relationships with her brother and father. That’s the mother in me, and the author, who yearns to understand the how and why after tragic loss. For younger readers, however, the major plot turn will send them on an exciting and satisfying journey.

The novel touches on a range of teenage emotions, centered around a modern day sci-fi thriller. Wylie and Jasper’s faithful bond guides them through life-threatening scenarios that fans of suspense will enjoy. As the mysterious disappearance of Cassie unfolds, we see a young girl face her biggest fears, come to terms with a devastating loss, and discover who she is in a big, scary world.

McCreight knocks it out of the park with the book, which is sure to be a fan favorite—leaving an open-ended finale for a sequel that readers will be clamoring for. I highly recommend this book for teens.

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