Reviews for Under the Never Sky

Booklist Reviews 2012 February #2
The wasteland known as the Death Stop is a world away from the safe, sheltered community from which Aria was expelled, but to Peregrine, it's a brutal but familiar home. In this dystopian future, a stark division has grown between the Outsiders, whose senses have sharpened and who have descended into quasi-primitive tribal life, and those living in now-crumbling Pods in an almost exclusively virtual experience. Perry is one of the reasons Aria was expelled, and Aria may be the reason Perry's beloved nephew, Talon, was kidnapped. Needing one another to complete their tasks, though, they forge a cold partnership as they trek across a wilderness stricken with Aether strikes, cannibal attacks, and even more terrifying dangers. Fans of The Hunger Games (2008) will cheer Aria's gradual, warrior-like transformation over the course of the novel. Perry is an enigmatic figure whose past emerges slowly and whose strength of character is only amplified by his flaws. The ending leaves Perry and Aria, who have become passionately drawn together, with significant challenges, teasing readers with the potential of a sequel. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Aria lives in an enclosed city filled with virtual-reality spaces, but when she is exiled to the outside wasteland, she goes from lazy and soft to survivalist razor-edged in a smooth leap. Rossi's world is creatively and lavishly developed, and Aria is a memorable protagonist, battling her own shortcomings with the same ferocity as she fights for the lives of those she loves.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #2
Aria knows the history of the destructive Aether storms and plagues that led to her ancestors being some of the fortunate few who were able to shelter in man-made Pods, and she has grown up in the safety of the enclosed city of Reverie enjoying the Realms, virtual-reality spaces where people now spend most of their time. When she is punished (ostensibly for trespassing, though her potential to embarrass an important leader with information about his violent son seems more likely the reason) and exiled to the outside wasteland, she assumes she will die quickly. Aria does survive, though she is certainly not prepared to handle the difficult environment or her newfound knowledge; she learns that decades of spending time in the Realms have led to widespread psychotic breaks, that she is actually half-Outsider, and that there are very few options for those seeking peaceful, loving lives. Aria, who goes from lazy and soft to survivalist razor-edged in a smooth leap, is a memorable protagonist as she battles her own shortcomings with the same ferocity as she fights for the lives of those she loves. The world itself -- sharply divided into garishly surreal Realms, cozy (if bland) Pods, and harsh, unforgiving outside -- is as creatively and lavishly developed as the characters themselves, and readers will likely be left as curious about how each area will develop with this next generation of protagonists who are all too aware of the risks present in all three. april spisak Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #2
Debut author Rossi creates a dystopian world in which a teenage girl loses her home but finds truth, love and identity. Aria has grown up in a Pod, where life is highly regulated and technology has eliminated many of life's pains and inconveniences. Dwellers lead sheltered, insulated lives in the Pod, enjoying protection from the often treacherous and always unpredictable Aether forces in the sky. They also revel in endless virtual joy rides accessible through devices all Dwellers have. Rossi seamlessly intertwines Aria's journey with that of Peregrine, a teenage boy who has grown up outside of a Pod, an Outsider, in what the Dwellers consider perilous wastelands where humans live without the gadgets Dwellers depend upon. Ruling authorities banish Aria from the Pod, and Rossi nails the feat of offering dual perspectives from Aria and Perry as they help one another on separate quests that turn out to have unexpected connections. Though an Outsider and what Dwellers consider a savage, Peregrine, who possesses preternatural gifts and comes from a ruling family in his tribe, earns not only Aria's respect and admiration, but also her heart. Rossi grounds her worldbuilding in language, creating idioms for the Dwellers and Outsiders that add texture to their respective myths; her characters are brave and complex and her prose smooth and evocative. Inspired, offbeat and mesmerizing. (Science fiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 November #2

"Savage" tribesman Perry rescues the effete Pod-dweller Aria in Rossi's dystopian debut about an ecological apocalypse. Earth is now ravaged by Aether storms, from which the Dwellers are insulated--at the cost of all freedoms. Aria is cast out of this refuge after a venture into a forbidden greenhouse, where she first meets Perry. The Outsider tribes live exposed to the horrifically magnified elements and suffer from mutations as well as the privations of their Stone Age culture. Predictable culture clashes ensue as Perry introduces Aria to his primitive lifestyle, though Rossi does have some interesting ideas. The Dwellers are kept passive by an elaborate virtual construct called "the Realms," but aside from a few brief scenes, the Realms are merely referred to, not depicted. The focus is on Aria's response to life in "the real" (and, of course, to Perry), and it's hard to warm up to either. Violent death is endemic to both cultures, and in the tradition of H.G. Wells, neither the Eloi-like Dwellers nor the Morlock-like Outsider tribes are terribly appealing. Agent: Adams Literary. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 March

Gr 7 Up--Aria has lived her entire life in the domed city of Reverie. As the story opens, she is sneaking into a restricted area with the security chief's son, Soren, in hopes that he will be able to help her reach her scientist mother, with whom she has lost contact. The son turns strangely violent and Aria only survives his attack by the timely intervention of Peregrine, one of the "Savages" from outside the dome. In order to keep her quiet, Soren's father casts her into the outside world to die. She is saved again by Peregrine, who is on his own quest to rescue his nephew from dome "Dweller" kidnappers. Though from different worlds, the two must work together if they are to prevail in the wilderness. Rossi's novel transcends the bleak category of dystopias to which it technically belongs. There is a luminescence to her characters and world that denies the grim realities of environmental degradation, domed cities, genetic disease, and roaming bands of cannibals. The almost-magical senses that Peregrine and Aria possess allow Rossi to expand her descriptive palette beyond the mundane spectrum to create truly wondrous images. Her action sequences are cinematic in feel while her romance builds from tentative feelings to a powerful bond between Aria and Peregrine. The hopeful ending leaves room for but doesn't necessitate a sequel. Although this is a first novel, it comes across as the work of a master craftsman and should appeal to both teen and adult readers far beyond dystopia fans. Film rights optioned by Warner Bros.--Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

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VOYA Reviews 2011 December
When Aria, seventeen, a Dweller from the main pod of Reverie--a community formed during the Unity for inhabitants' safety-- is expelled and abandoned to the Death Shop, her future appears bleak until rescue comes via Peregrine, a Savage or Outsider. Each has something the other wants; they strike an uneasy truce before journeying across dangerous wastelands on a quest. The story unfolds in a grippingly dystopian future, where heavens roil with the electrical Aether and occasionally rain funnels fire onto the ground; where Outsiders battle daily for survival--those Marked with a dominant Sense have some advantage; and where Dwellers enjoy easy comfort with abundant food and endless entertainment in virtual Realms--accessed with thought through the Smarteye device worn by all inhabitants. "Better than Real," the Realms offer richly vibrant sensory experiences in multi-dimensional virtual worlds, preferable to the Middle Gray of pod life Contrasts between the Dwellers' carefully engineered existence and the Outsiders' primitive battles for survival, where even mating is left to chance, illustrate the divergent path each culture took and allow readers to compare these with 21st-century life and contemplate the consequences of present day decisions. The interwoven narratives of both male and female protagonists offer broad appeal; the plot allows for a sequel set in a rumored location with visible skies called the Still Blue. Already selling in more than twenty countries and with film rights optioned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Rossi's first novel has the potential to be a blockbuster. Libraries, stock up to meet circulation demand.--Cynthia Winfield 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.