Locked Inside by Annette MoriLocked Inside by Annette Mori was an unusual, intriguing read that immediately hooked me and kept me turning pages.

Belinda Moore wakes up in a strange room, with two strange teens talking in her room. Even more terrifying, she can’t move or talk. The last things she remembers are the few days she felt ill and lethargic, ending with a visit to the doctor’s office. Now she finds out that it’s six years later, and she’s been unresponsive in a coma for all that time.

This is the story of two remarkable girls, Belinda, the girl struggling to comeback from the debilitating phenomena known as locked inside syndrome, and Carly, the first person who believes that Belinda is aware of what’s going on in her surroundings.

This story takes us from Belinda’s awakening at age 16 through her college years, although most of the emphasis there is on her freshman year. Carly and Belinda become best friends, inseparable, as Carly is there every step of the way for Belinda’s fight to regain her abilities.

Along the way, both girls struggle through the ups and downs of being away at college, the stress of studies and of relationships, and discover that love can be so much more than either thought it ever could be.

The Characters

Right away, we’re drawn into Belinda Moore’s world. We experience what she experiences, the fear, the frustration, and the determination. It’s interesting to note that although others would consider her amazing and heroic for her unending fight to overcome her limitations and obstacles, she doesn’t consider herself that way. For her, everything she does and struggles for is simply because there isn’t any other option to take in her mind. She fights and struggles and overcomes because not doing so is unthinkable. At the same time, there are still things that show how very young and human Belinda is. One of those things is her reaction to her feelings for Carly. As much as she loves Carly, she doesn’t feel worthy of her. And perhaps that makes up a part of her determination to get better.

Carly Sullivan is the best thing that could have happened to Belinda. From the start, she’s attuned to Belinda in ways that others simply aren’t. She believes that Belinda is locked inside her body, unable to communicate but understanding what happens around her. It’s the advocating that Carly does that eventually leads to the testing that confirms Belinda’s awareness and starts her long road to recovery. Along the way, Carly’s sensitive nature is revealed as she relates her own life story and feelings about the things she’s going through as she begins to deal with the awareness that she’s gay. The result is a bond between the two young girls that is unbreakable.

The Writing Style

victorias favourite booksThis book is written in the first person from Belinda’s point of view. It lends an immediacy and intimacy to Belinda’s story. I was gripped from the beginning and simply had to keep turning pages.

The Pros

I loved how different this book was. This isn’t the typical beautiful, athletic, popular lesbian dealing with a few minor issues on the way to discovering love. Belinda was such an unconventional main character because of her disabilities and the limitations she had to constantly work around. Even though she eventually conquered some of those limitations, it was a matter of constant struggle and hard work.

I also loved the mini-vocabulary sessions as we constantly learned Carly’s word of the day.

The Cons

The one thing I didn’t like in this book was Belinda’s constant reluctance to let Carly know how she felt. Although I understand the motivation for it, this lack of communication resulted in some heartaches and miscommunications that seemed like unnecessary drama to me.

The Conclusion

Everyone should read this book. This book was so innovative and original that I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something out of the ordinary. This is all about the triumph of the human spirit over some of the worst things that life could throw at you. A total win.

Excerpt from Locked Inside by Annette Mori

A tiny, middle-aged woman with short blonde hair and wire-rimmed glasses strode confidently into the room. When she looked at me and smiled, the kindness and warmth in the gesture reached all the way to her chocolate brown eyes.

“Hello, Belinda, I’m Dr. Amelia Carter and if you’re ready, we’re going to spend the next couple of hours evaluating your progress. I understand that you can respond to yes and no questions by blinking your eyes. Can I confirm with you that one blink means yes, two blinks means no, and three blinks means I don’t know. Was I given the correct information?” she asked.

I blinked once to let her know that was correct.

“Before we start let me ask, are you comfortable?:

I acknowledged with a blink that I was fine.

“Okay, let me explain the first test to you. I’m going to show you a word and then I will show you several pictures. What I need you to do is blink once when you see the picture that goes with the word. Please don’t be offended when I start with simple words, I need to do a complete test and we always begin with words you would find in a first grade reader. Are you ready?”

I blinked once to let her know it was okay to begin. As she started showing me the various words like cat, dog, house, apple, and other simple words, she followed each one with various pictures and I would blink when I saw the right picture. I was grateful for her words of encouragement throughout this first simple test.

“You’re doing great, Belinda. So far you’ve gotten every question correct. How about we go for a test that’s a little harder? Now, instead of pictures, I’m going to show you words and then various definitions. When you read the definition that corresponds to the word, blink once to let me know. The words will get progressively more difficult, so don’t worry if you don’t know the definition of a particular word.”

If I would have had the ability to laugh, I would have, because a few of the words included Carly’s word of the day. When she flashed the word lascivious, I felt my face flush. I was sure I’d turned bright red. When she held up the definition, feeling or revealing an overt and often offensive sexual desire, and I blinked once, she arched her eyebrow.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9780908351237
  • Publisher:  Affinity E-book Press NZ LTD.

Annette Mori Online 

Note: I received a free review copy of Locked Inside by Annette Mori. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.