The Outside is the sequel to The Hallowed Ones. If I were to sum it up in a sentence, I would say it is the Amish Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love Buffy, and I loved these two books!
This book takes place after Katie, Alex, and Ginger are cast out of the Amish community; thrown into a new and violent world filled with vampires where they must either find a way to survive or die. While the book is far from the realm of reality, it is extremely creative and original as well as just a whole lot of fun.
The vampires are not the romanticized vamps we are used to reading about, but are instead super creepy vessels of evil, writhing and hissing and just plain ugly. In each scene where the sun was setting, I prayed Katie and Alex would find a safe place to stay before they were attacked. I cringed when the evil was scraping against their shelter, trying to lure them outside. How do humans begin to fight back? With an injection that causes a human to become naturally luminescent for defense. What a great concept! Of course, no one knows the long term effects but, why the hell not, I would totally become a human glow light if it would keep me alive, wouldn't you?
Katie is the main character, and at the heart of the story we have her struggle with her own faith. Being suddenly thrust out into a world she knows almost nothing about and then being forced to make decisions that question her previous beliefs. It takes its toll on her and this is evident. She must make choices that require her to choose between keeping to what she was raised to think was right, or adapting to this new and frightening situation in front of her. Katie grows a lot throughout the book, realizing eventually that taking the risks and making certain decisions does not mean that she is completely abandoning her faith in God. One thing I really liked about Katie was that Laura Bickle gave her this strange but wonderful combination of innocence and bad ass vampire killer, vulnerability yet inner strength. She keeps all of these traits throughout the story.
The book is definitely dark and has some intense scenes, but for me, that just made it harder to put down, even for a few minutes. Now that I have finished it, I am a bit sad there won't be a third book and I have this strange urge to re-watch the whole Buffy series, from beginning to end.