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The Sky Inside (The Sky Inside #1)

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  1,624 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
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 ...more
Audio, 0 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Listening Library (Audio)
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Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Things that are flawless about this book: the cover. And I don't mean that as a jab, the cover is just very awesome.

The story? eh. It had some neat ideas - actually, it had too many neat ideas jammed all together so that none of them were very successfully explored, at least to the lengths I would have liked. It was a jumble of partially developed plotlines, so much so that I kept expecting at least some of them to come up again. The book even opens with a foreshadowy-seeming game show scene th
Jun 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: young-adult, hated, 2008
I can't believe I read this whole book. Okay, so I started skimming in the middle. But still.

This book sounded so promising: a boy grows up in these domes that have been built by the government to shield its population from the terribleness in the outside world. His younger sister is one of the Wonder Babies (no one has children the old fashioned way, they all order them and they are delivered by a machine called a stork) that are too smart for their own good and ask too many questions about the
Martin lives in HM1, a seemingly perfect world. But when a stranger comes to town to take away the latest shipment of children, the new Wonder Babies, Martin wonders why no one is asking any questions and why no one call tell him where they've taken his little sister, Cassie, a Wonder Baby. So he sets out to find the answers for himself.

When I first read the inside cover of this book I was really intrigued and couldn't wait to start it. The first 40 pages were really good, they reminded me of Th
The Sky Inside reminded me a little bit of the Giver, but with more technology and not as much finesse. The majority of the story takes place in a city built under a large metal dome and all the mysteries that come with such a location.

I felt that there was a bit too much time spent on half hearted attempts at world-building (that didn't quite do it for me) and not enough time spent actually answering the questions about the world. There is a big spiel at the end explaining the world, but I woul
2.5 stars. Lots of similarities to The Other Side of the Island: a future world where, after some sort of disaster, people live in small domed settlements and are carefully monitored by a scary government. But for my money, Island is about 10 times the book this is.

The writing is nowhere close to Goodman's prose. Dunkle just doesn't quite have the skill to create that heavy atmosphere of dread. For instance, there are bugs everywhere--"the walls have ears" is a phrase that's constantly repeated
Sep 22, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
i'm only giving this two stars because it has some interesting plot points. really, it was more like a one-star book. this book takes on way more than it can handle in the number of pages it contains. it's supposedly a futuristic "what-if" sort of tale, but it goes in so many different directions that i just found it irritating. so these people live in a big (literal) bubble and apparently, most of them do not work and are paid to stay home and buy things, thereby contributing to the economy by ...more
I'm clearly in the vast minority here, but wow, this was actually painful for me to read. I thought the dialogue was terrible, the characters flat and uninteresting, and all the actions and interactions felt forced and unrealistic. I couldn't connect to any of it. It's been compared to The Other Side of the Island, and yes, I felt the exact same way about that one--it's another of those stories for kids and young adults where the language feels really oversimplified and dumbed down, which is one ...more
Didn't particularly care for the narrator and for a short YA book this seemed to take forever for me to finish. I've read The Giver which has similar themes but a literary, fairytale quality to it, and The Feed which takes the futuristic bubble suburb idea to the extreme. This story falls somewhere between the two in terms of the dystopic nature of the future society but wasn't as well written or clever as either of those. Lots of good ideas but I just felt it failed to deliver really - too many ...more
Dec 31, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds me of why I enjoy Star Trek. (I know, Scott, I've just sunk lower in your eyes.) As someone who likes to ponder the future, I appreciate the central message of Star Trek, which is that mankind is essentially good -- and the best is yet to come. Sadly, you don't get that kind of optimism in most sci fi. This book is another one of those futuristic distopia nightmare stories. I only finished it because I felt compelled to find out what happens to the characters, but then the endi ...more
Often when I read books with a child as a main character, I feel that the child acts distinctly unchildlike. This is a book where the kid acts well, like a kid. He makes poor decisions, leaps to conclusions and had me saying "No, don't do that!" I found the character pretty believable, if frustrating at times.

I had a bit of trouble with the worldbuilding. I found it a bit of a stretch to accept that so many people were willing to pretty much sit around and do nothing. Perhaps it was seeing it th
[edit, 10/2011] Just re-read this for possible inclusion in the Tome O'Dystopia. I'm having trouble coming up with anything to say about it, because there's just not much to this. The sequel, IIRC, gets more into the world setting and what the political structure is like, but I don't have the investment to reread that one, too. This is just a boring book about a kid and his magical dog-bot.


There's a lot of convenience here, plot elements that just fall into place as necessary--and disappear a
Feb 26, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The story felt disjointed. Martin would all of a sudden be in a new location and I couldn't figure out how he gotten there or why. He also said and did things that a young child would, not a teenager. The constantly transforming dog was too incredible to be believable. Needless to say, I didn't finish the book.
Elizabeth Nygren
This book destroyed me. It was a pretty bad book in my opinion. There was no character development and it seemed like a book for small children (junior) and not a book for young adults. It had a very overused plot so I did not enjoy it. It was quite a pain to read.
May 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good but so much was left unexplained. The strength was in the characters - I did keep reading to find out what happened to them. The morphing robotic dog was a nice touch.
I got this book's title from a best-of-young-adult-science-fiction-dystopian list. I bought it from a friends of the library sale.

It's difficult to classify this book as post-apocalyptic because the apocalypse isn't obvious. Why else would everyone live in a dome?

There are flashes of brilliance with new ideas. There are also times when the author depends on then-a-miracle-happens style of writing. The writing was uneven but I really ended up liking the Wonder Babies. I felt sympathy for the mom
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book's consumerist commentary. It touched on some interesting ideas that gifted kids could probably relate too, like society not accepting the Wonder Babies. However, I would not recommend using it in the classroom unless you're ready to discuss where babies come from. Also, had some far fetched details that were never explained. Overall, great concept but just an average execution.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Far too predictable and boring. Very much like The Giver.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blurb: Every year, a new generation of children arrives on a conveyor belt to meet their parents. Every spring, the residents of this idyllic suburb take down the snow they've stuck to their windows and replace it with flowers. And every day passes much the same as any other.

Imagine a perfectly-formed, perfectly-controlled world. And then imagine what will happen when everything comes crashing down...”

Martin is a thirteen-year-old boy living in a home that is identical to the one next to it,
Wow, okay.
I didn’t like The Hunger Games, and couldn’t get into Divergent. I am not a fan of all the popular dystopias, but dystopia is my favorite genre. I was desperately looking for a truly good dystopia when I stumbled upon The Sky Inside. And wow, did it fulfill my expectations!

What did I like about it? I loved Martin’s dystopian world, and all the details associated with it. While the characters were somewhat one-dimensional, they were developed to a point where you did care about what h
Marcia Adversalo
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of dystopian literature, specifically in the YA category, so I am always surprised when someone can come up with a new twist. This book had a new twist, though I didn't always love the main character. Computer Chip, the dog, was probably my favorite character. It's going to be interesting to see where this goes.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-1-12
Martin lives in the suburbs. And these are super suburbs. Everything is the same. Oh, and did I mention that the sky is really a steel dome that is painted blue, and the clouds are painted white? And everything is mechanical, even the pets. The world outside the dome is supposedly a barren and toxic desert where no one can survive. That is why people live in the domes, where children are genetically engineered and delivered by the stork (ok, it's a train car) and people vote on what shade the Pr ...more
Aug 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martin is your typical kid who isn't really a fan of school; his family is okay, though his little sister is annoying; but what can really frustrate him is when his perfectly good clothes get thrown away (just because they have holes! And they were finally comfortable!). At least that was his life, school, family, friends that he's known forever, because, when you live in a dome and there is no outside, so you know everyone, but then people start picking on his sister and her friends. So yeah, t ...more
Renae, Lady Disdain
Funny story: I was browsing shelves at the library when I picked up The Sky Inside because the title reminded me of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, which is a book I really want to read. It turned out to be a really lucky coincidence, because the cover blurb was really interesting, and I ended up checking out The Sky Inside, hoping for a cool dystopian novel.

I think at this point, it’s going to be impossible to create a “new” and “unique” dystopian premise. Since The Hunger Games, the gen
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading a decent number of youth/young teen books of late, as I'm curious about dystopian books and it doesn't appear that there are many good ones directed at adults. The dystopian field is clearly filled with all varieties of books, complicated/simple, suspenseful/slow moving, intelligent/low level thinking. You have the Divergent/Hunger Games, clearly at the top of the end, and then you have books like this one. Not bad, per se, just very simple, clearly meant for the younger kids ...more
Abby Johnson
Far in the future, Martin Glass lives in suburb HM1 with his mom, dad, and kid sister Cassie. Martin's not big on school and prefers messing around with video games and bots to sitting in class. Cassie is exactly the opposite. She's a Wonder Baby, a new model of child engineered to be highly intelligent and curious. But something's not right in HM1. With the help of a modified robot dog, Martin discovers some weird things about his suburb and he starts to suspect that not everything is on the le ...more
3 1/2 stars... maybe 3 3/4

A dystopian society where everything is perfect, children are taught superficial lessons in school, coldness is the norm and people watch killer game shows for fun.

This sounds familiar...

Marten and his too perfect little sister, Cassie, are products of a society where the sky is always blue, there is no rain and pain is swept under the rug until Marten's birthday when his birthday gift, a dog-bot (Chip) with special modifications opens the door to the hard truth of the
I have to say this was my first time reading a book with a male main character. It was also one of the few books I've read with 3rd person. I wanted to try something new, and I'm glad I did. Martin had a unique voice, and the world he lived in only made it stronger.

HM1 is basically a giant dome you cannot leave. Different domes communicate with each other by packets that go along the rails. You can't know too much, think too much, and being orderly and the same is almost the only think that is c
Aug 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boybooks
Much better than I thought it was going to be -- very pleasant surprise! Pretty much a 3.5 star book, but I'm feeling generous today. Sufficiently creepy/disquieting. Ending is begging for a sequel. Summary provided by goodreads adequate, but leaves out my favorite part -- Martin's amazing altered robot dog who saves his butt on numerous occassions.

Some good quotes:

"It was the distance that fascinated him first. After a lifetime of living with a steel ceiling and a concrete floor, the vastness o
Liam Donohue
Oct 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The sky inside book review
by liam donohue p.4

In the sky inside by Clare B. Dunkle a young genetically modified boy named martin lives in a perfect suburban world, this place is under a dome called HM1. Through the plot events, we see the authors message; that living in a perfect world isn’t always so perfect especially when your trapped under an unbreakable dome. We understand this through events such as martin wanting to go and explore outside. Then- then I’m not going to die? “Well, then crap!
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science_fiction
Really cool book. I enjoyed the depiction of a dystopian future society, and the adventure really gets going in the last half of the book. Thirteen-year old Martin lives in Suburb HM1, one of several domed self-contained communities. No one ever leaves the suburb, or visits other suburbs, because they've been taught for generations that outside is only desert and death. In the suburb, the dome is painted blue with white patches called "Clouds" (Martin wonders why they're called that), plastic fl ...more
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The Sky Inside."" 1 10 Sep 02, 2009 06:49PM  
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I was born Clare Buckalew in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Denton, Texas, a city north of Dallas. I earned my B.A. in Russian with a minor in Latin from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from Indiana University with a master's degree in library science, I came back to San Antonio to work when my husband, Joe, joined the engineering staff at Kelly Air Force Base. I earn ...more
More about Clare B. Dunkle...

Other Books in the Series

The Sky Inside (2 books)
  • The Walls Have Eyes (The Sky Inside, #2)

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“Mom actually said that?" Cassie's face shown with happiness. "She always hated my math!"

"Nah," Martin said. "She was just being that way for you. She thought it was what you needed to hear. If parents told us what they really think about stuff, we could figure them out like regular people.”
“For how many generations now had his people been turning their backs on things? How long had they sat in their living rooms and watched other people die?” 5 likes
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