Clare B. Dunkle

Reviews & Edition Information for The Sky Inside

By Clare B. Dunkle. New York: Atheneum, 2008.
Edited by Ginee Seo for Ginee Seo Books.
A science fiction novel for ages twelve and up.

Colorado lake

Listed in Booklist's Core Collection: Dystopian Fiction for Youth.

Included in the 2011 Grand Canyon Reader Award list.

To read an interview about this book, see the blog site of librarian Rebecca Laney.

Listening Library has released an unabridged audio edition (audio download or CD), read by Bruce Turk.
"A story that will capture the imagination of the junior high set. ... Publisher recommends for ages 12-17, but adults will enjoy this too."
"Dunkle's Orwellian tale of perfect people living in a seemingly perfect world is vivid and imaginative. ... Narrator Bruce Turk offers a solid reading that captures this world perfectly. ... A stunning sense of foreboding comes through."
—AudioFile Magazine

Simon & Schuster UK released the UK edition in August, 2008. That edition is paperback.

Simon & Schuster Australia released the Australian edition in October, 2008. That edition is paperback.

"Many children will identify with Martin's characterization as someone who hates academics but '[knows] the stuff that matters,' and most will envy his robotic-dog sidekick ... This entertaining, provocative novel invites middle-grade readers to ponder looming questions about scientific ethics, human rights, and the push-pull between security and freedom."
—Booklist (Starred review and Booklist cover art)

"Part coming-of-age story, part thriller, the novel leads readers on an exciting adventure through a grim future."
—Hornbook (Recommended)

"A novel that raises significant questions about our own world in a context that younger readers can easily imagine. Game shows, endless commercials, computer games, toy robots, all taken just one step over the edge—and suddenly we're considering issues of freedom vs. security, human rights vs. the rights of artificial life forms, and the public consequences of personal choice."
—Bryce Milligan for The San Antonio Express-News

"Successfully explores the dangers of despotism and the role that an uninformed citizenry can have in furthering oppression. Middle grade readers will connect readily with the well-written character of Martin, whose sensitive portrayal evokes a message of hope and optimism."
—VOYA (4Q 4P: Broad general YA appeal)

"Along the lines of Logan's Run and The Truman Show, The Sky Inside paints a very uncomfortable picture of a dystopian future society. ... It's very easy to read with plenty of narrative drive, making it as suitable for late primary children as it is for those of early to mid secondary age, but the plotting is terrific, absolutely watertight. As Dunkle trails clues to what really lies behind the polished, superficial world of Martin's society, you really can feel the horror mount. ...

"Highly recommended for character, narrative and style, buy The Sky Inside for all socially conscious sci-fans aged from about ten to fourteen."
The Bookbag

"Loved it, loved it, loved it. ... 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."
Becky's Book Reviews

"Author Clare B. Dunkle sculpts a fascinating future landscape, a perfect dystopian utopia, that will leave the reader considering the events of the tale long after the last page has been turned and the covers closed. Definitely a nominee for a Golden Duck award, in my book."
The Trades

"While a quest of a boy and his dog ... against seemingly insurmountable obstacles is a familiar plot, Dunkle surrounds her protagonists with an enthralling range of settings, a memorable cast of characters who hide their ennui and worry to varying degrees, and Martin himself, who while bold and intelligent, is also effectively developed as an authentic thirteen-year-old boy who is attempting something a bit out of reach. ... Fans of the author will still recognize her evocative storytelling and intricate plotting, even in this science fiction milieu."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (Recommended)

"Clare B. Dunkle ... has created a richly imagined, thoroughly frightening society. Her novel takes place in a world much like our own, and its characters have believable strengths and weaknesses. Offering insightful commentaries into today's society and raising challenging questions about the future, The Sky Inside is the kind of science fiction novel that will encourage young readers to think about—and discuss—some of the larger issues in their own lives."

"A solid, compelling entry in the isolated-dystopian-community genre. In a world well-stocked with genius children, the point-of-view focus through an ordinary boy with questionable free will provides a compelling shift from the expected."

"An interesting book that I couldn't put down. It reminds me of a modern day setting of The Giver with maybe a little Soylent Green thrown in. ... Readers that enjoyed The Giver, A Wrinkle in Time, etc. will really enjoy this one."
—Denise Byers of middle_school_lit

All webpage text copyright 2003-2014 by Clare B. Dunkle, unless attributed otherwise. All photos copyright 2003-2014 by Joseph R. Dunkle, unless attributed otherwise. You may make one print copy of any page on this site for private or educational use. You may quote the author using short excerpts from this website, provided you attribute the quote. You may use the photos in both print and virtual media to promote the author's books or events. All other copying or use of this website material, either photos or text, is forbidden without the express written consent of the author.