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*****= An all-time favorite
****Singing the Dogstar Blues
by Alison Goodman
Reviewed November 6, 2003.
Viking (Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers), New York, 2003. Originally published in Australia in 1998. 261 pages.
Winner of the 1998 Aurealis Award, Best Young Adult Novel.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003: #3, Young Adult and Children's Science Fiction
Singing the Dogstar Blues is another impressive first novel. Though the author creates a world in the future, she manages the perfect blend of showing details without too much explanation, but still not ever making us confused. I read it before The Time Traveler’s Wife, and it’s a completely different but still intriguing look into that idea.
Joss Aaronson isn’t the sort of kid who always follows rules, but she’s been picked to attend the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies and become a time-jumper. She wants to study blues music, if she can keep from getting expelled.
Then Joss learns that the Centre has finally allowed a Chorian student to attend. These aliens have more advanced methods of transportation than humans, but they don’t know how to travel through time. When the Chorian elders scan the minds of the first-year students, they choose Joss to be Mavkel’s partner. She has a “resonance” that’s missing in the others.
Being Mavkel’s partner isn’t easy. Protestors surround the school, and Joss and Mavkel have to live in a high-security complex. Someone’s out to kill him. What’s more, Mavkel is an unusual Chorian. His birth-partner is dead, but Mavkel didn’t die at the same time. He’s terribly lonely and needs to connect with Joss’s mind. Can she rise to the challenge? Does she even want to share her mind with an alien?
This is a well-written book that’s satisfying on many levels. Like all good science fiction, it makes you think as well as helping you see real-life situations with new eyes. Still, Singing the Dogstar Blues is more than mind candy, because it gives you characters that you care about and want to see triumph.
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund. All