The Sky Inside
Every year a new generation of genetically-engineered children is shipped out to meet their parents. Every spring the residents of his town take down the snow they've stuck to their windows and put up flowers. Every morning his family gathers around their television and votes, like everyone else, for whatever matter of national importance the president has on the table. Today, it is the color of his drapes. It's business as usual under the protective dome of suburb HM1.
And it's all about to come crashing down.
Because a stranger has come to take away all the little children, including Martin's sister, Cassie, and no one wants to talk about where she has gone. The way Martin sees it, he has a choice. He can remain in the dubious safety of HM1, with danger that no one wants to talk about lurking just beneath the surface, or he can actually break out of the suburb, into the mysterious land outside, rumored to be nothing but blowing sand for miles upon miles.
Acclaimed author Clare B. Dunkle has crafted a fresh and fast-paced science-fiction thriller, one that challenges her characters -- and her readers -- to look closer at the world they take for granted.
I think at this point, it’s going to be impossible to create a “new” and “unique” dystopian premise. Since The Hunger Games, the genre has really taken off and it seems like 1 out of every 2 YA novels being released are dystopian. So while I can’t really say that the premise and plot of The Sky Inside is completely different and unlike anything I’ve ever read, I can say that this book was very, very interesting. In the best possible way, of course.
Martin is 13 years old, and he lives with his specially-designed genius sister and his parents. They all live in steel domes, known as “suburbs,” and their only communication into the world outside their dome is what shows on their television. For his birthday, Martin gets a new “dog” and from there he comes to question everything he’s known about his world and who he really is.
Again, not the most uncommon set-up for a novel, but it was all in the presentation. The Sky Inside is, I think, one of the only novels I’ve read where every single aspect of daily living has been twisted beyond recognition—in this book, humanity as we know it is completely dead. So watching Martin function, to uncover these lies, was truly fascinating for me.
I was a little disappointed that the “big reveal” only came in the very last chapter, and that it took the form of an info-dumping conversation. It would have been nice for Martin to figure things out on his own somehow.
Side note: that “dog” you see on the front cover? Yeah, I want one. Really badly.
Among the soup of dystopian novels swimming around, The Sky Inside stands out. Dunkle’s treatment of her topic was extremely interesting, and I very much enjoyed experiencing life inside the steel-domed “suburbs.”
I loved the plot line where everyone in Martin's world lives under a bubble, with fake sky, no UV rays, no wind, no rain, and no flowers (real, that is). And since I love animals, I enjoyed having Chip (a German Shepherd...most of the time) as one of the main characters.
Those are the only positive things I have to say about The Sky Inside. Most of the book seemed like it had no direction. The author filled the pages with words that weren't going anywhere for the most part. I was confused at some parts, like toward the end of the book with the robot traveler who taught Martin outdoor skills...what was the point of having that plotline?
I think the author should've waited until she had more substance and heart, and then wrote the book. It could've been better.