Cover image for The sound of stars
Title:
The sound of stars
ISBN:
9781335911551
Physical Description:
426 pages ; 22 cm.
Geographic Term:
Summary:
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.
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Summary

Summary

Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves pop music work together to save humanity? A beautiful and thrilling debut novel for fans of Marie Lu and Veronica Roth.

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.

Today, seventeen-year-old 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 still keeps a secret library.

When young Ilori commander M0Rr1S finds Ellie's 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.

Humanity's fate rests in the hands of an alien Ellie should fear, but M0Rr1S has a potential solution--thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous journey 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.


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up--Janelle is an avid reader, a loyal friend, and is very frustrated with racial injustice. Then the Ilori, a race of mathematical energy beings, arrive to colonize Earth. Human squabbles pale compared to potential annihilation. MORr1S is Ilori and although he's here for mere days, is tasked with completing a vaccine to wipe out humanity. Yet all is not as it seems. There is a growing rebellion, with MORr1S and Janelle at the front of it. They bond over forbidden music and books, acknowledging their friendship and budding romance while on the run to California. A boy band comes to their rescue, though the band is actually a more benevolent race of aliens masquerading as human. Ultimately, they save what is left of humanity through science, music, and love. Pop culture references, lyrics, and original songs pepper the novel, told in four parts, alternating between the protagonists' perspectives. There are also mentions of major political movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. Readers may find the constant band quotes distracting, as protagonists rely heavily on lyrics to express their predictable feelings. The stilted speech patterns of the Ilori read like computer passwords unless colored with emotion inconsistent with their characters. The story is disappointingly predictable while simultaneously offering readers random, abrupt plot turns with little explanation. Overall, this novel has an intriguing premise featuring a diverse cast--Janelle is black and bisexual while MORr1S has many non-binary comrades--yet the writing relies too heavily on clichés and trite, juvenile feelings. VERDICT Only purchase where readers request romantic sci-fi books.--Kristen Rademacher, Marist High School, Chicago


Publisher's Weekly Review

Debut author Dow combines alien invasion, dystopian romance, and road trip tropes in this story of an alien occupation of Earth. Seventeen-year-old Janelle "Ellie" Baker, who is African-American and suffers from anxiety and hypothyroidism, operates a contraband library in her New York City apartment building, where 1,000 people, including her family, are being held by the alien Ilori. Humanlike M0Rr1S, or "Morris," is a labmade Ilori created for the specific purpose of developing a "vaccine" that will suppress humans' consciousness and allow the energy-based true Ilori to occupy human bodies on Earth for recreation. Unlike other Ilori, though, Morris experiences emotions deeply, something that infuriates his high-ranking father. Upon finding Ellie's library, he doesn't turn her in but instead solicits her aid in finding the human music that he loves. When Ellie's secret is discovered, Morris rescues her from execution, and the two flee with their trove of music and books, their relationship turning romantic along the way. Amid references to popular media, Dow paints a moving picture of two young people's defiance and the power of song and story to combat despair. Ages 13--up. Agent: Uwe Stender, Triada US. (Feb.)


Kirkus Review

A human teen and an alien invader make an unlikely and potentially dangerous connection.When the spaceships came to Earth, there was confusion and then conflictlarge numbers of humans died and the Ilori took over. Seventeen-year-old Ellie Baker managed to hold onto a trove of forbidden books, but her mother is falling into alcoholism and her father receives injections that make him an obedient Ilori servant. Lending books from her secret library makes Ellie feel less helpless even though she risks death for her transgression. Morris (or M0Rr1S) is a labmade, created to appear human and part of a unit sent to Earth to prepare for the true Ilori, who are susceptible to the Earth's pollution. Although his father is a high-ranking true Ilori, disdainful of feelings, Morris harbors a secret love of human music. He uses his knowledge of Ellie's secret library to convince her to collect music for him, and their bond deepens when he saves Ellie from execution. The two set out on a harrowing cross-country escape while Morris plots to thwart his father. There is much to enjoy in this story featuring a complex black teen: Ellie is bright, resourceful, and coping with issues with body image and anxiety. Morris and his family are intriguing. The depiction of the world has many similarities to today's society, and the overlay of speculative aspects fits seamlessly. A promising debut that begs for a sequel. (Science fiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Seventeen-year-old Janelle (Ellie) Baker survived the invasion of the Ilori aliens two years ago and now lives under their dystopian scrutiny. When M0Rr1S (Morris), a prominent Ilori commander made to appear human, learns she runs an illicit library, he is captivated by the face that she loves books enough to risk her life. That's how he feels about music, and so he offers her protection if she can smuggle him old records and iPods. But when Ellie ends up scheduled for execution anyway, and Morris garners suspicion by intervening, the two end up on a cross-country road trip with rebellion in their sights. Though the pacing is often slowed down by exposition, much of it is spent delving into the issues that have shaped Ellie, and which are bound to resonate with readers including sexuality, racism, and anxiety. Readers will swoon over the sweet romance that blooms between her and Morris, who is clueless and enlightened in equal measure. Filled to the brim with pop culture references, Dow's fun, heart-healing debut will find fans among readers of Marie Lu.--Eleanor Roth Copyright 2020 Booklist