TeenLit Book Reviews

October 2000

Locked Inside

Nancy Werlin

Locked Inside, by Nancy Werlin is not your typical, wealthy orphan girl at boarding school story. The genre is fiction with a rating of 3.5 (1-4, with4 being the best). It is written for a young adult audience, age 13-17. The main character, Marnie, is an heiress whose life is filled with a waninginterest in school, and an extraordinary interest in a computer fantasy game called Paliopolis. In the game she becomes Sorceress Llewellyne, who meets another online player named Elf. The characters remain interesting, but not at all realistic. As the plot becomes more complicated, Marnie is kidnapped by her very unbalanced, and angry chemistry teacher, who has developed an intense dislike for Marnie. Marnie's computer friend Elf somehow comes to her rescue, but finds himself trapped along with her in the teacher's basement. Their captivity becomes a real life caricature of the Paliopolis computer game that once held their mutual attention. A major strength lies in the wonderfully constructed descriptions of Marnie's inner thoughts and feelings. Less realistic, but equally intriguing, are the conversations she imagines she has both with her deceased mother and her computer persona, Sorceress Llewellyne. A weakness is the lack of realism in the kidnapping, and the friendship with Elf. Also unlikely, is the unusual and unsettling climax that leads to their escape attempts. One conflict explored is how Marnie wants to get to know herself and her history, and at the same time, makes a large effort to deny herself access to this information. Marnie is clearly struggling and learning about how to free herself from the feeling of being "locked inside" herself during the drama of actually being "locked inside" the basement. She learns aboutunlocking herself with pain, difficulty, grace, and humor.
Reviewed by Katie. Grade: ----- in San Francisco, - Link directly to entry
Page 1 of 1 pages