Dunkle, Clare B. 2008. The Sky Inside.
Where to start? Loved it, loved it, loved it. Not very descriptive though, is it? Enthusiasm only takes you so far I suppose. Why did I love it? Maybe this will clarify: Science fiction dystopian thriller. While I don't love all dystopian novels, chances are good that I'll at least give it a complete read through if you throw out the words dystopia or utopia. Listen to this description on the jacket and the back cover:
The ads had started running on midmorning television the summer after Martin's fourth birthday. "Wonder babies are here!" they announced...Never had the arrival of the stork brought such excitement. Overflowing with charm and intelligence, Wonder Babies were like nothing the suburb had seen before. But that didn't turn out to be a good thing. (back cover)
Martin lives in a perfect world. 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.Do you see why this one had to come home with me from the library? It just screamed out "read me, read me, read me NOW!" It had me hooked from the beginning. Martin and his sister Cassie and his "toy" dog Chip are characters that had me interested (or should I say invested???) almost immediately. Martin especially. It would have been really easy--almost expected--for the characters to take a back seat to the premise, but that isn't the case in The Sky Inside. Yes, the premise had me at hello. But I really and truly came to believe in Martin.
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. (inside jacket)
I don't want to spoil one minute of the book for you by describing the plot or the premise. Half the fun of novels like these is experiencing the unveiling slowly one page at a time as all the details come together to reveal the big picture. It is good, you should definitely read it.
The author has the prologue and first and second chapters of the novel on her site. Read them!
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews