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Singing the Dogstar Blues

Singing the Dogstar Blues

4.3 9
by Alison Goodman

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Alison Goodman's first novel - in a very special new edition!

Seventeen-year-old Joss is a rebel, and a student of time travel at the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. This year, for the first time, the Centre has an alien student: Mavkel, from the planet Choria. And Mavkel has chosen Joss, of all people, as his roommate and study partner


Alison Goodman's first novel - in a very special new edition!

Seventeen-year-old Joss is a rebel, and a student of time travel at the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. This year, for the first time, the Centre has an alien student: Mavkel, from the planet Choria. And Mavkel has chosen Joss, of all people, as his roommate and study partner. Then Mavkel gets sick. Joss quickly realizes that his will to live is draining away. The only way she can help Mavkel is by breaking the Centre's strictest rules - and that means going back in time to change history. This new Firebird edition of Alison Goodman's acclaimed first genre-bending adventure features a short story about Joss and Mav's after-book adventures, originally published in Firebirds Rising.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A gripping tale in a fully-realized world. A winner. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
Publishers Weekly
"A brilliant, resourceful 17-year-old who chafes at authority narrates this tale of galactic conspiracy unfolding at an elite high school," said PW. "Readers will likely find that not only do they need to read this novel a second time in order to catch all the details, they will look forward to it." Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Joss Aaronson doesn't know who she is. The medical history of her donor father is unavailable, and she feels like an outsider in a world full of hyphenated names. Identity is a big theme in this futuristic novel. It is set in a time of institutionalized drug use, gene-spliced reproduction, and redefined privacy. Mood altering drugs are as common as coffee. AIDS is a result of implanted IQ chips rather than IV drug use or unprotected sex. Josses mother is a news presenter and virtual reality star who communicates with her daughter through a secretary, and security technologies make privacy impossible. Then Joss meets Mav, a telepathic Chorian whose birth twin is dead. Mav feels alone and longs for connection with another being. Privacy and secrets are unknown to Mav. A Chorian's strength and safety depend on their community knowing where they are and what they think. The growing friendship between Joss and Mav requires a big adjustment for both of them. This is a thought-provoking read for young adults in search of themselves. 2002 (orig. 1998), Viking/Penguin Putnam, Ages 12 up.
— Tina Dybvik
Seventeen-year-old Joss is a university freshman attending the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. When she is not hanging out in bars playing harmonica, she is part of an elite group who learns about the past through time travel. As if that were not enough to occupy her time, the first alien ever admitted to the program chooses to be her partner. Mavkel turns out to be a likeable alien who does not feel much stranger than a standard college roommate. Meanwhile, Joss is determined to figure out the intended victim of a hired assassin, has a strained relationship with her mother, does not know who her father is, and is able to get information from underground cyber spies called Spyders. Joss is a very busy young woman that realistic fiction fans might relate to better than science fiction buffs. Much more time is spent on parents and school administrators than on detailed descriptions of spacecrafts and other planets. The complex issues of time travel and genetic engineering are presented, but not in detail and not in a way that engages to reader to think further about these monumental questions. Originally published in Australia, there is some slang that goes undefined in this uncorrected proof. This title is recommended for collections serving high school students who are required to read a science fiction title but who are not interested in a lot of hard science. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Viking, 208p,
— Melissa Potter
Joss Aaronson is 17 and a time-travel student at the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies, a position her famous mother bought for her. She is brash and brassy, full of slang and opinion. Her actions and attitude keep her walking a fine edge with expulsion yawning on one side. Her place as one of only 12 first-year students at the Centre is at risk until a pairless Chorian, Mavkel, takes one of the places and selects Joss as its partner. Chorians are from a planet that has Sirius A as its sun, and are human-like with two noses, two mouths, and two double-jointed ears. Each Chorian is part of a birth pair and as a species they communicate telepathically. For six years, Chorians have been a part of daily life on Earth, but partnering with a Chorian brings its own complications to Joss's world—government security and an assassin, to name a couple. However, when Mavkel becomes sick and needs to pair with Joss to survive, they must use a jumper to travel back in time to find out who Joss' father was, completing her bloodline. Goodman's quick prose and wry humor bring Joss to life, a harmonica-playing, tough-talking rebel with a big heart and an open mind. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998, Penguin Putnam, Viking, 261p.,
— Michele Winship
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-A street-smart teen is partnered with a hypersensitive alien for an experimental university program in this story that incorporates elements of time travel, mystery, and teenage angst. Fueled by nonstop action, superb characterization, and crackling dialogue, this is a brilliantly imagined read. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A thrilling debut explores a richly textured future society. Seventeen-year-old Joss is heading towards her expulsion number 13. When alien Mavkel becomes the first of his telepathic species to study at the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies, he chooses Joss as his study partner. Joss is relieved; Mavkel's diplomatic status should protect her from expulsion. But something is rotten on campus: an assassin is on the loose, with an unknown target. Joss's estranged journalist mother is-as always-unreachable. The Centre director is mysteriously determined to expel Joss. On top of everything else, Mavkel is telepathically crippled and occasionally suicidal as a result of an accident that claimed his alien twin. Will Joss choose to save Mavkel, or protect her own sense of self? Joss's society has many elements of cyberpunk-virtual reality, a complex underworld, biology melded with technology-but her story is more satisfying than a typical cyberpunk mystery. In Joss's powerful coming-of-age, she learns her place among family, friends, and her larger society. Though secondary to the plot, Joss's changing relationship with her mother is heartbreakingly real. A gripping tale in a fully-realized world. A winner. (Science fiction. 13+)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.98(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A gripping tale in a fully-realized world. A winner. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

Meet the Author

Alison Goodman was born in Australia and after a bit of wandering, now lives in her beloved hometown, Melbourne. She was the 1999 D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellow at Melbourne University, holds a master of arts, and teaches creative writing at the postgraduate level.

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Singing the Dogstar Blues 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book because i so enjoyed Eon/Eona. Total different path than those, but still an excellent read. Wish it was longer!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I began reading this book I was really confused. After I continued reading I started to understand and everything made sense. Now I would have to say that Singing the Dogstar Blues is one of my favorite books. If you like Sci-Fi, humor and adventure books you love Singing the Dogstar Blues. This is one of the first Sci-Fi books I have ever read and it's REALLY good. I hope Alison Goodman writes more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! PLEASE continue the story! I love Joss and her friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved the book, I wish there was a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first science fiction novel, and overall it was an interesting read. My only complaints are that it was lacking in details, there wasn't much character development, and it was too short! Still, it is worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The opening line really grabbed my attention, but I ended up totally not liking Joss, the main character. I'm the kind of person who likes to finish a story, though, so I did. Offensive language was masked with made-up words (Australian slang?), but no new word for 'snot'. Bummer. And, yeah, this is science Fiction, but the explanation of Joss's bloodline... I couldn't buy it for a second. I also figured a lot of stuff out way before it happened. There's a little humor; that's why I gave this book two stars instead of one--that and the alien Mavkel. The story had a lot of potential to be really good, but didn't deliver.