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Veronica Rossi’s dystopian novel hits all of the expected points of a futuristic teen drama, and blockbuster fans will be happy. The world as we know it has been ravaged by Ether storms and the human race lives safely tucked away in pods, traveling only electronically thanks to their Smart-Eyes. Aria’s world is turned upside down when an unfortunate misadventure gets her kicked out of the safe pods and lands her in the wild, dangerous outside – called the Death Shop. She survives only with the begrudging help of outsider Peregrine (Perry), who has lived his entire life outside of the pods. Two teens forced together by dire circumstances, dependent upon each other for survival, starting as enemies but learning more about each other as they go – you can probably guess what happens. The twist is that on the outside, certain groups have supernaturally heightened senses, and Perry is from a bloodline with a sense of smell so strong that he can smell moods, lies, and certain thoughts. His friend, Roar, can hear whispers from miles away and even hear people thinking if he’s touching them. This addition technically makes Under the Never Sky different than other dystopian novels, but to me it still felt sort of formulaic. I don’t think I’ll continue with the sequel. Tons of lusty thoughts, violent battles, and a kind of odd sex scene mean that I can’t recommend Under the Never Sky to my 6th and 7th graders (another shame), but I can suggest it for 8th grade fans looking to relive Divergent and The Hunger Games.
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