cover image The Sound of Stars

The Sound of Stars

Alechia Dow. Inkyard, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-335-91155-1

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. [em](Feb.) [/em]