At The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop and Guest House in Fort Atkinson, Wis., bookseller Beth Champion was happy to discover that Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky, a January release from Harper, was anything but run-of-the-mill dystopian YA.
With the market seemingly flooded with young-adult dystopian novels, I picked up Under the Never Sky by first-time novelist Veronica Rossi with more than mild apprehension. I thought, “What will make this book stand out to those readers who fell in love with books like The Hunger Games and Graceling and are always looking for their next obsession?”
I soon found out. What sets this engrossing book apart are the dual worlds that Rossi so convincingly creates. Sixteen-year-old Aria spends most of her life in a virtual world called the Realms. She lives a comfortable life, with no real danger. Anything that can be dreamed in the Realms can be done. When she is torn from this life and exiled into the “real world,” she encounters brutal storms, cannibalistic clans, and a “Savage” prince.
At the beginning, Aria is not a strong heroine who is in charge of her own destiny; she is a frightened girl, experiencing danger for the first time. This realistic character flaw is endearing, and makes her eventual transformation all the more rewarding. She forges an unlikely alliance with a moody prince who is searching for his lost nephew. These reluctant partners develop together during their violent journey.
What makes this dystopian novel different? Rossi seamlessly blends fantasy, action, romance, and lyrical prose to create a compelling story that young adults will love. Read it quickly—it’s already optioned by Warner Bros. With its gripping storyline and atypical cast of characters, this is sure to be a bestseller among teens.