Hi friends! Welcome to another spotlight of Read the Rainbow, yes, the second one this month! As I said in my last Read the Rainbow post, with so many amazing queer releases, I decided to go with two books this month. The more the merrier 🙂
Read the Rainbow is a spotlight for queer books, authors and readers. Every month, I’ll be hosting an interview or discussion centred around a queer book. The interviews will be conducted with authors and the discussions will take place with #ownvoice readers for each book. Every month, I’ll be announcing the book of the month for Read the Rainbow so that everyone can read the book before the spotlight, although it is not a necessity.
Today we have my lovely friend Iris(she/her) on the blog to discuss The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow. This book features a demisexual protagonist and gender-queer as well as bisexual side characters.
Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?
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. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression 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 (Morris) 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 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 making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
Related Posts: The Sound Of Stars Cover Inspired Makeup + Moodboards!
Iris is a book blogger at Hoard of Books and identifies as an asexual lesbian. Despite her sadness, she loves acting and public speaking or anything that will get her onstage. Her favourite books include Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Heartstopper series and the Six of Crow series among a few.
Disclaimer: Iris and I read The Sound of Stars a while back and fell head over heels in love. So this post might end up being a praise shrine for Alechia Dow 😉
But don’t worry, the discussion remains spoiler-free.
1. Just from reading the blurb and looking at the cover what were your thoughts or expectations from this book? Did your expectations hold?
Honestly by the time I got around to reading it I forgot everything it was about, except that it had aliens and pop music and ace spec rep. I sort of was dubious of it actually, because I’ve never loved books about aliens, but it had ace spec rep so I decided to give it a try! I sort of thought it’d be weird, and fun, but nothing special, especially after reading the first few pages.
It completely exceeded my expectations. It’s now one of my all-time favourite books. I love this book SO much. It is . . . a masterpiece. I have a tendency of overusing that word, but I really, really mean it here. The Sound of Stars is one of the best books I have ever read.
2. Who was your favourite character in the book and which character do you wish to read more about?
Ellie was definitely my favourite!! Morris was soft and precious and I loved him, but Ellie . . . Ellie was one of the most compelling main characters I’ve ever read. I loved her fierceness and her anger and her hurt. I loved the way she developed over the course of the book. I just . . . I love Ellie a lot!!
The characters I want to see more from most are uh? Probably spoilers? But I was also very intrigued by Morris’s brother and would love to learn more about him!
Charvi: That’s not really a spoiler so you’re all good! I was so attracted to Avrola’s character because they’re mostly shown as someone who hides their emotions so I would love to see a spin-off book on their story!
3. What did you think of the overall plot and the way it developed as well as progressed?
The Sound of Stars is not a super plot-driven book, and I absolutely loved that! The plot was very good, and definitely stood up, but it was very much a backdrop for the characters to me.
I also honestly appreciated where it ended. No spoilers, but the ending is quite . . . open. But in the very best way, I think because if it had carried on from there I don’t know how it would have kept quite the same tone that I loved so much about it.
4. Without giving any spoilers, tell us about your favourite parts or scenes in the book!
I loved so much about this book, but:
- All the bookish love and references to so many of my favourite books.
- The commentary and conversations about so many important issues, from consent to colonialism to bigotry.
- The scene where Ellie dances to Single Ladies.
Charvi: Those are such great choices! And oh my god that Single Ladies scene is ICONIC.
5. What sort of emotions did this book evoke from you?
ALL OF THEM. This book was an emotional rollercoaster. There were parts that made me laugh and squeal, and parts that made me angry at the world, and parts that made me want to hug the characters, and parts that made me feel so empowered, and a whole lot of parts that left me in absolute awe of Alechia Dow’s writing.
6. We don’t often see demi-romantic characters in books so what were our thoughts about that representation and the way in which Alechia Dow wrote about it?
I’m ace, not demi, so I can’t speak on the exact rep, but I absolutely loved seeing the casual representation of an identity so close to my own. I think I burst out crying when she first said she was ace spec as if it was no big deal at all. This representation is so so important, and it’s going to mean so much to some people.
Charvi: I’m questioning on the ace-spec so I can’t say for the exact rep either, but let’s just say my heart was bursting with such casual references of Ellie’s sexuality and the way it was written.
7. If you were to pitch it as a combination of any two books which ones would you choose?
Ahahahahahahahaha okay, I’ve actually given this a weirdly large amount of thought in the past, and this is like . . . a really weird combination, but I’d say it’s The True Meaning of Smekday meets On The Come Up. I didn’t even particularly like The True Meaning of Smekday, nor do I remember it particularly well, but it involved a human girl and an alien going on a road trip and it was all I could think of when I started this book. And well, the events of The Sound of Stars are really all started by an Angie Thomas book, so it seems only fitting to compare it to one, but also these two books really do have a lot of the same themes (even if they’re a bit subtler in The Sound of Stars), as well as a shared love of music, so it really does fit.
8. Lastly, if you were to write a short letter to either this book or the author, what would you write?
I would probably just ramble on for like ten pages about how much I loved it and how much I love Ellie and how much I loved all the pop culture references, and y’all really don’t need to see that.
Thank you Iris for such a wonderful discussion!
So that’s it from Read the Rainbow for this month. But before you go, I would like to announce our next book of the month: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales. The book features an m/m couple and has gay and bisexual representation. Feel free to read along and join us next month! Here’s a little blurb so that you can get to know more about Only Mostly Devastated.
Summer love…gone so fast.
Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he’s fun, affectionate, kind―but just when Ollie thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairy tale ending, and to complicate the fairy tale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it’s the same school Will goes to…except Ollie finds that the sweet, comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted―and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.
Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship, especially since this new, bro-y jock version of Will seems to go from hot to cold every other week. But then Will starts “coincidentally” popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, and Ollie finds his resolve weakening.
The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.
Have you read We Used To Be Friends? If not, is it on your TBR?
Have you ever had any friendship break-ups?
Tell me about some of the best books with bisexual characters that you’ve read!