Ella moves to a new town with her Mum and brother, and starts attending Moor Lane School. It’s stressful for all the family as Ella adjusts to a new environment and her mother to a new job. Ella suffers from eczema which seems to be more severe because of this stress. Ella’s father isn’t mentioned, but many of the chapters start with a letter from Ella to her Dad. Ella’s Mum is adamant that his whereabouts be kept a secret.

The most popular girl at school, Lydia, makes friends with Ella, but Lydia is domineering and manipulative. While Ella wonders about Lydia’s motives, she is flatter to be her friend. Another mystery is why Molly is so quiet and why Lydia doesn’t like her?

There are many things to like about Ella on the Outside and I enjoyed it very much. The author, Cath Howe, has done a great job. It is well-written, the story unfolds at a good pace, and the use of Ella’s camera works well as a tool to convey information. The letters to Ella’s Dad allow us insight into Ella’s thoughts as well as her relationship with her Dad. It is an effective sub-plot running through the story which connects in understated ways to the main story. Lydia isn’t your typical bully, and the word “bullying” isn’t used in the book, nevertheless Lydia’s actions are clearly designed to intimidate. The story has a satisfying ending.

A great read.

Thanks to Christian School Suppliers for providing a free book for review.