- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Viking Juvenile (April 14, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670036102
- ISBN-13: 978-0670036103
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,602,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Singing the Dogstar Blues Hardcover – April 14, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up-This highly entertaining Australian novel is an unusual mixture of genres: time travel, comedic mystery thriller, and realistic portrayal of familial and alien relationships. Surprisingly, it works extremely well entirely due to the fact that the main character is so perfectly drawn. Joss Aaronson, 18, is an independent, spirited, and feisty young woman with a sarcastic mouth. She rarely sees her mother, a famous newscaster. Joss was conceived via a gene donor: "Straight from the petri dish to you." She's been expelled from several boarding schools and is close to expulsion from a prestigious university program in time-travel studies. For the first time, an alien from another planet has been admitted, and Joss is his study partner and roommate. A wicked harmonica player, she is intrigued that Mavkel's species communicates by harmonizing through song. His twin has died and he will, too, if he doesn't find someone with whom to join minds. He chooses Joss, although to help him, she needs to find out who her father was. Thus, the partners embark on a dangerous, illegal journey back in time. The plot and characterizations are well done; the book has lots of action, witty dialogue, and pop-culture references, and sensitively portrays complicated relationships between a mother and daughter, and members of different cultures. This book is more inventive than Mary Logue's Dancing with an Alien (HarperCollins, 2000) and, unlike M. T. Anderson's Feed (Candlewick, 2002), the tone of the made-up language is meant to be funny. While easy to decipher, the language is a bit crude. This intriguing and exciting read has lots of teen appeal.
Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-12. Daughter of a sperm donor and a mother who is a famous newscaster, Joss is a wild, fun-loving girl who plays the harmonica. She's also a student of time travel at the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. Her life turns upside down when Mavkel, the first Chorian to visit Earth, comes to study time travel and selects Joss to be his roommate and study partner. The partnership puts a crimp in Joss' usual freewheeling lifestyle, but she finds plenty of excitement and danger with Mavkel, including meeting an assassin and a confrontation with an anti-alien lobby group. In addition, she's fascinated with Mavkel's heritage, especially with the fact that the Chorians are a harmonizing species of twins who communicate through song. When Mavkel becomes ill and ends up on the brink of death, Joss has to break the center's strictest rule and go back in time to save her alien friend. This wildly entertaining novel successfully mixes adventure, humor, mystery, and sf into a fast-paced, thrilling story that will appeal to a wide audience. Ed Sullivan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
That issue aside, I found this a very good read. The characters were distinct and interesting. The situations were intriguing. It's not new for a science fiction novel to explore first contact with alien species, but Goodman's aliens have depth and texture, and the difference and similarities between the species are explored sensitively. I found the relationship between Joss and Mavkel a high point in the book. I loved Joss's rebellious, independent character, and I wanted to know more about her walk on the shady side. Between the characterizations and the well-developed sense of time and place, let alone suspense, the book definitely kept me reading.
(...) The book ends too quickly and conveniently. I saw most of the ending coming, and I found it a little obvious. I'll be recommending this book to readers, but it isn't quite at the top of my list.
Joss Aaronson is a 1st year student at a time travel school. She is about to be paired up with her permanent TT partner who would accompany her on all her adventures. Her partner turns out to be the first alien admitted to the TT school Mavkel. For some reason he feels Joss is his perfect mate. Mavkel's race is deeply dual. Its species live in telepathically connected pairs. Mavkel needs to establish a psychic connection with Joss without which he can't exist. After several failed attempts to connect, the couple's last resort is to travel back into the past to seek the missing ingredient to assist their union.
Great things about "Singing the Dogstar Blues":
1) time travel! - I craved more of it though.
2) aliens! - Mavkel is the cutest alien with a fab personality and the whole concept of his society is very curious.
3) futuristic setting! - loved the cyberpunky feel of it.
4) emphasis on developing of friendship instead of romance!
5) a heroine who kicks ass and who is rebellious without being annoying.
6) mystery! - yes, an actual mystery involving assassins, sperm donors and DNA.
I mean, what's not to like here? Why aren't there more books like this? It is always such a pleasure to read teen books that are both entertaining, light and not dumb. I can't read Le Guin's complex and thought-provoking sci-fi all the time, right? Some fun teen sci-fi is necessary too.
This story is told in a mysterious and futuristic way that is sure to make you want to keep reading until the end. It is hilarious in parts, and always leaves a question pounding in your head that you won't find out until you're finished with the book. A thrilling and entertaining story!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A book more about identity and self chosen destiny then anything else.