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The Sound of Stars

The Sound of Stars

Book - 2020
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Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world's population. Seventeen-year-old Janelle "Ellie" Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. With humans deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, emotional expression can be grounds for execution. Music, art and books are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her. Born in a lab, M0Rr1S was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie's illegal library, he's duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They're both breaking the rules for the love of art--and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does. Ellie's--and humanity's--fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution--thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while creating a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Inkyard Press, [2020]
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781335911551
1335911553
Branch Call Number: SciFic Dow TEEN
Characteristics: 426 pages ; 22 cm

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PimaLib_JessicaP Apr 07, 2021

I have wildly conflicted feelings about this book.

On the one hand, I am wary of the line we draw in oppressor/oppressed or colonizer/colonized romantic fiction. This one was well done in regards to the characterization and purpose/goals of the oppressor/colonizer in this situation, including th... Read More »


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PimaLib_JessicaP Apr 07, 2021

I have wildly conflicted feelings about this book.

On the one hand, I am wary of the line we draw in oppressor/oppressed or colonizer/colonized romantic fiction. This one was well done in regards to the characterization and purpose/goals of the oppressor/colonizer in this situation, including the fact that he is also in an oppressed class and other things that are more spoilery, but it was still sitting in the back of my mind the whole time I was reading.

And yet. AND YET. I ate this book up. Devoured it. The writing is so easy, the story so compelling, that I read it faster than I've read anything (that wasn't fanfiction) in AGES. Even the parts that were really hard to read were easy to get through, and Janelle was pretty easy to love. I mean, secret librarian, hello. Morris took a little more time, but he's so adorably clueless that I couldn't help growing attached.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but this book might have actually been a little TOO twee and gooey. It was precious and I loved the development of the relationship and the insertion of books and music that make it very much a NOW kind of book, but gosh, these two. Sickeningly sweet. (I kid, mostly. They're adorable. But wow.)

CWs: Alien invasion, colonization, and goal of enslavement; imprisonment and control of movement; severe anxiety; anxiety and panic attacks; execution by hanging on the page; discussion of mass murder; gun use and intimidation; brainwashing and medical/chemical alteration; non-sexual assault; racism; racially-motivated classism; peril; violence and gore; implied sexual coercion (not between protagonists); discussion of previous anti-fat bias; I...think that's all of them.

Rep: Janelle is Black, panromantic, and demi-ace. Several other gender/sexual identities and broad racial representation in multiple...species?

j
justjenn001
Apr 27, 2020

This is the most transformational, important work of fiction I’ve ever read.

It might be easy to dismiss Alechia Dow’s debut novel, The Sound of Stars, as a YA, near-future or dystopian sci-fi story. You could also classify it as a YA romance. While technically accurate, neither one does The Sound of Stars justice. It’s all that and so much more.

Ms. Dow has crafted a work of fiction that combines books and music, aliens and romance, the future and the past. She does so deftly, and with an effortless ease. Her debut novel includes ace and envy representation, while addressing anxiety, self-image, racism, consent, hate, the current state of American society, and climate change.

She sprinkles these tidbits of today’s history throughout the book so perfectly that ideas and images are neither forced down the reader’s throat, nor glossed over as insignificant side notes. They are the foundations of future world filled with desperation. And while this might create a dark and dismal story, The Sound of Stars is also filled with hope.

Through the darkness, Ms. Dow shines a light to guide us to a better world. She throws the reader lifelines in the form of books and music. She starts each chapter with one of those lifelines, and give us a glimmer of what will come. She hooks us with every chapter. Ms. Dow chose simple quotes from well-known sources and each one ties in perfectly with the chapter beneath it. I have no idea how she managed such a daunting feat. I choose to believe she used magic.

The Sound of Stars made music and words flow through my veins, pump inside my heart, and create this powerful combination of joy and sorrow. My soul ached. THIS is the book I want on all the award nomination lists. THIS is the author I want to see everywhere. I need to hear The Sound of Stars reverberate around the world. It’s that good. It’s that necessary. It’s that powerful.

So, sure, it’s a YA romance novel with aliens. It’s also an emotion bigger than love. At one point I had tears streaming down my face. This book didn’t just make me cry; it showed me powerful depictions of love, sacrifice, loss, fear, and hope. I could not contain my feelings. My heart sat in my throat as I heard the words “unapologetically black and a queen.” I leapt for joy at the example of being your my hero and not waiting for someone else to save me. And I sighed with the idea that “Family doesn’t need to say thank you.” It is more than love, and my ardent words can never do it justice.

The Sound of Stars is music and magic.

It is the book we need.

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