Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.
A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
I gave Under the Never Sky a 4 on Goodreads, though I think, if it were an option, I’d give it a 3.5 instead. Rossi’s writing could have been stronger (others may disagree), but the storyline was well-conceived. Despite a pounding headache, I was compelled to finish. Maybe it was fear over the cannibals . . .
The book alternates between Perry and Aria’s point of view. Their worlds collide within the first fistful of pages, then we follow each character to their respective homes before they are brought together again. I enjoyed seeing their misconceptions play against each other.
I love what Rossi did with Aria’s home in Reverie. The people in Reverie use a Smarteye, like an eye patch, to access a virtual world. You can attend parties or concerts, make money, eat, have sex—all without any consequences. Except the virtual world is more engaging than the real, and everyone lives buried within the Smarteye.
Perry lives outside the Reverie dome. In his world, some people develop special Senses. Perry is rare. Not just because his brother is the clan ruler, but because he has two senses. He has super-sonic vision and smell.
I really appreciated Rossi’s mention of (sorry, guys) menstruating. The topic isn’t tackled much in dystopian/sci-fi. I mean, really, we don’t see Katniss Everdeen pausing for a tampon break. Every author has topics they avoid, and solving these every day problems is a lot harder than it seems.
Props to Rossi.
Talk with your teens/parents:
If you could have a special Sense, which would it be? (mine would be smell or sight)
What similarities do you see between the Smarteye world and its culture and ours?