Friday Reads: "Under the Never Sky" by Veronica Rossi

Today's Friday Reads will be short-n-sweet, because I am back to revising my own book and I can't wait to dive into it this morning! But I didn't want to skip the important job of book blogging. (Heaven knows there aren't enough book bloggers out there...) :p I only read one book this week. Luckily, it was a good one: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I've been hearing about this book for a while, especially from the members of my Wednesday night writer's group. It's a Young Adult novel set in a distant future after a catastrophic event, the Unity, has basically destroyed the environment. I'm not entirely clear whether the Unity was a war or a weather-gone-wild situation, but this is the first book in a trilogy, so it's possible more will be explained! Regardless, much of humanity has been living cooped up in giant climate-controlled pods, spending most of their lives in the Realms (a next-next-next-next-etc generation Internet accessed via an eyepiece and the user's brain) and hearing scary stories about the savages who live in the destroyed world outside.

Under the Never Sky (with cool lens flares!)

The plot gets rolling when Aria, a teen living in the pod Reverie, sneaks into a storm-damaged, off-limits dome with a few friends. She just wants to get information on her mother, who's a geneticist working at another pod, Bliss, but the boys she's with have more sinister plans. This scene sets into motion a chain of events that lead to her getting thrown out of Reverie into the "Death Shop" outside, where she expects to die within minutes.

Spoiler: She doesn't die. (She is the protagonist, after all!) She is rescued by a "savage" named Peregrine who has the ability to see in the dark and scent "tempers," or people's emotions, and who is facing struggles of his own within his tribe. They form an unlikely alliance, and as they help each other, they learn more about themselves and form a strong bond. And that's all I'll say, so as not to spoil anything else!

I liked this book, but I will confess that it took me about a third of it to really become invested in the characters and the world. I've read a lot of dystopian stories in the past few years, and this wasn't one of the ones that grabbed me from page one. Once Aria and Peregrine began to care about each other, rather than being two completely separate people sharing the same experience, I cared more about both of them. By the end, I was rooting for them for real, rather than just reading about them.

Would I recommend Under the Never Sky? I would! I really enjoyed the second half of it, and I am eager to pick up Book Two, Through the Ever Night, which just came out this month. And maybe you'll be more gripped from the get-go than I was. Also, maybe it won't bug you that Peregrine's nickname is "Perry," which sounds like the exact opposite of a tortured hunter/tracker/tribe leader with amazingly evolved senses and made me think of Perry the Platypus from "Phineas and Ferb." (Perry. The tortured hunter/tracker/tribe leader with amazingly evolved senses ... and a fedora. Heh.)

Have you read Under the Never Sky? Were you wild about it? What's your favorite teen dystopian book/series?

Happy reading,