• The Darkness Outside Us

  • By: Eliot Schrefer
  • Narrated by: James Fouhey
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (373 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

They Both Die at the End meets The Loneliest Girl in the Universe in this mind-bending sci-fi mystery and tender love story about two boys aboard a spaceship sent on a rescue mission, from two-time National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer. Stonewall Honor Award winner!

Two boys, alone in space. Sworn enemies sent on the same rescue mission.

Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor with no memory of a launch. There’s more that doesn’t add up: evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship’s operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed—not when he’s rescuing his own sister.

In order to survive the ship’s secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust each other . . . especially once they discover what they are truly up against. Love might be the only way to survive.

* Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best Books of the Year * A Booklist Editor's Choice of the Year * A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book of the Year * A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults & Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Book of the Year *

©2021 Eliot Schrefer (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Darkness Outside Us

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Whoa. I had no idea what I was in for.

Ok, this book is not YA. I genuinely feel more impacted by reading this book than I have by any other novel in a while. It's a top-notch Sci-Fi, with very little YA content other than the literal ages of the characters. You'll have a moment at the beginning where you feel like it's YA and that maybe the voice actor isn't as good as everyone says, but trust me, James Fouhey is wonderful, and the book will get wildly more excellent and more complicated. The themes are very mature. Like... contemplate your whole life and the complexities of human existence, the constructs of civilization, and the meaning of love, mature. For those who say the romance in the book runs sidecar to a larger story, that's only true in the sense that the actual larger story is SO DARN LARGE. In another respect, the romance is literally the thing that every part of the plot hinges on, and the only reason you feel genuine joy and hope at the end of what's really a very intense book.

Highly recommend reading it, but please don't have the expectation that you're walking into a fluffy sweet story. Worth it, I promise, but whew. Give yourself a little space to ruminate on these themes.

3 people found this helpful

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Quite recommendable

Thoughtful, philosophical but not … didactic or preachy. Romantic and not saccharine. Pretty dynamic story - didn’t really know where it was going until it got there.

Really enjoyable.

3 people found this helpful

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Space-odisey re-written

Beware of writers who have nothing new to write. I can’t understand how anybody would give this book a good review.

1 person found this helpful

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For all the high reviews, I expected more

I don't know where to go with this one. I don't want to offer any spoilers, so all I feel comfortable saying is there are issues with the story that still nag at me a couple of months after reading. The Cold War style premise should seem a bit off, but with the reality of current events, I will let it go.

The narration is fine - there aren't many characters to voice, and it works.

There are two huge issues for me, and without trying to spoil anything, I will say the timeframe of the book is wildly unbelievable. With nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey, the material should be accessible to most readers. The twists this book takes seem unnecessary. The romantic aspects are fine, but as you get further in the story it seems less likely that is would happen. Ultimately, I took the approach that I had to accept the broader concept as presented and not question it to appreciate the story the author was trying to tell. I would say it is recommended if you appreciate sci- fi with a gay twist.

1 person found this helpful

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would be a badass movie

I'm crying right now i loved this an absurd amount. please give this a listen, the narration is so cool too.

1 person found this helpful

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2001, Ground Hog Day, Edge of Tomorrow,

It's a cute story and from a technical standpoint, the writing is very good, but the central conceit is just not a thing that I could unreservedly dive into and celebrate. It reminds me of a mash-up between three titles mentioned in the headline

And worse, an ongoing symptom of books about gay guys in the young adult genre, physical intimacy is under described and rather chaste, while acts of violence and peril are fully described.

More sentences are used describing someone getting hit in the face with a wrench and the after effects than when two people make love for the first time.

That is just regrettable.

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Best boom I have listened to!

How can you fall in love with the "same" characters so many different times. After reaching "that point", I stopped listening for a while, my brain was too overwhelmed. However, I had to come back to it and see how it would end. The ending was what I can only describe as a feeling of bitter sweet. Like you're so happy, but also mad at the same time. Recommend it for anyone who enjoys science, romance, as well as philosophy.

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Amazing, touching and entertaining!

This book was a perfect world to escape into. Loved it's story, characters and sci-fi thriller vibes. What an emotional rollercoaster it was. At one point I cried my eyes out. Cried for the first time in three months not because of the war that's going on in my country. And it says a lot.
Strongly recommend!

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wish this was a series

wish there was a series of books, i want to know more but then again maybe that's what makes it so good

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Don’t be fooled by the cover

This was one of the most intense books I have read in a long time. It looks like Star Wars fanfiction, but quickly because an existential thriller with a side of romance. If you want a unique and terrifying space journey, check this one out.

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  • Faraday94
  • 04-26-22

Unexpected treasure

This book was so sad in places yet so uplifting in others. I cried for Ambrose and Kodiak. Their journey through space with them thinking they were doing one thing and then realisation that all was not what it seemed. Their ingenious ways of subverting the irritating OS and finding ways to pass on what knowledge they had gleaned to their future selves. Their love for each other kept them on track. A gloriously unexpected treasure of a book.

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  • Danny
  • 04-04-22

brilliant story, a few small issues

OS says.. OS says.... OS says... the author could have used a few more similies when depicting speach... thats about it withnout spoilers

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Christine
  • 12-17-21

Sadder and angstier then I expected

This book is so much sadder than I expected! Also it is a bit scarier than I expected.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna G
  • 10-26-21

YA story with a twist

I have a mixed feeling about this one. It has a good start and then slowly detours into something dark but quite interesting. There is definitely a kick and thrill and some sadness. However the end is absolutely soft and positive, maybe a bit too positive for my liking. I still liked the book and recommended it though.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-10-22

Science fiction/ horror.

Science fiction/ horror, I would also put warnings here for suicide and self-harm. it was certainly not what I expected from a young-adult sci-fi audiobook.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Isabelle
  • 12-24-21

Great story!

This felt like a refreshing story with great characters and a twist I really didn't expect!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-04-21

Amazing, finished it in a day

This book was a roller coaster of emotions and I loved every minute of it. I haven’t felt this many emotions from a book in a long time and I highly recommend you read it.

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  • Aydin McIntosh
  • 09-06-21

Not what I was expecting

Fair warning, this book is fantastic. The plot and progression was a refreshing change to other space themed books. If you want a MM book with a Fantastic plot that stays clear of the 'steamy sessions' that authors seem to jam into most MM themed books then this is the book for you.