Debut author Rossi creates a dystopian world in which a teenage girl loses her home but finds truth, love and identity.
Aria has grown up in a Pod, where life is highly regulated and technology has eliminated many of life’s pains and inconveniences. Dwellers lead sheltered, insulated lives in the Pod, enjoying protection from the often treacherous and always unpredictable Aether forces in the sky. They also revel in endless virtual joy rides accessible through devices all Dwellers have. Rossi seamlessly intertwines Aria’s journey with that of Peregrine, a teenage boy who has grown up outside of a Pod, an Outsider, in what the Dwellers consider perilous wastelands where humans live without the gadgets Dwellers depend upon. Ruling authorities banish Aria from the Pod, and Rossi nails the feat of offering dual perspectives from Aria and Perry as they help one another on separate quests that turn out to have unexpected connections. Though an Outsider and what Dwellers consider a savage, Peregrine, who possesses preternatural gifts and comes from a ruling family in his tribe, earns not only Aria’s respect and admiration, but also her heart. Rossi grounds her worldbuilding in language, creating idioms for the Dwellers and Outsiders that add texture to their respective myths; her characters are brave and complex and her prose smooth and evocative.
Inspired, offbeat and mesmerizing. (Science fiction. 12 & up)