Singing the Dogstar Blues

Singing the Dogstar Blues

by Alison Goodman

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They say music is the universal language... Since an alien selected her to be his time-travelling partner, Joss has met an assassin, confronted an anti-alien lobby and had her freewheeling lifestyle nipped in the bud by the high security that surrounds the first Chorian to study on Earth! But life with Mavkel is not really that bad, especially considering harmonica-playing Joss is fascinated by Chorians - a harmonising species who communicate through song. Only, Mavkel is sick - he is pining for his lost twin, and his will to live is draining away. Joss wants to help but this means breaking the rules and going back to the petri dish where it all began. SINGING tHE DOGStAR BLUES won the 1998 Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and was shortlisted for the 1999 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction. It was also listed as a Children's Book Council Notable Book, and an American Library Association Best Book (2004). Ages 14+

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101601273
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 04/12/2012
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 461 KB
Age Range: 12 - 16 Years

About the Author

Alison Goodman is the author of the international bestselling and award-winning Eon/Eona duology and the Lady Helen series, as well as the acclaimed Singing the Dogstar Blues and the adult thriller A New Kind of Death (originally titled Killing the Rabbit). Alison lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband, Ron, and their adorable Australian Terrier mix, Buckley. 

Visit her website at

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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

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Singing the Dogstar Blues 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 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!
Herenya on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Joss Aaronson is first-year student, studying to be a time-travelling historian at the only time-travel training centre in the world (the University of Australia's Centre for Neo-Historical Studies). Which be enough to be going on with, but Joss is then chosen to be the time-travelling partner of a Chorian, Mavkel, the first alien to study at the university. The harmonising, telepathic Chorians are little understood, attracting a lot of media attraction and death threats; Mavkel's position in the time-travel class is controversial. Joss has long been fascinated with Chorians, but living with Mavkel is a drastic change - they're housed in state-of-the-art top-security, accompanied to classes by body guards, and Joss still learning how to relate to Mavkel. Meanwhile, the centre's director, who seems to have appointed himself as Joss' enemy, is looking for any reason to expel her.Joss is also struggling with her relationship with her mother, which has deteriorated to communicating via her mother's secretary, and her heritage as a genetically engineered "comp-kid". When Mavkel becomes homesick, Joss discovers that knowledge of her parentage may save him. So Joss embarks on quest to discover her father, a mission which involves taking risks - including potentially giving the director a solid reason to expel her. But Joss has never been a girl to let rules stop her.I love the delightfully quirky near-future world of aliens and time-travel. Joss' commentary on her world and her life is humorous and witty. Joss herself is a fun character - determined, resourceful and with a strong personality which causes some others perceive her as a delinquent. Goodman's vision of what technology and attitudes could become is convincing - and interesting. There are a lot of thought-provoking ideas raised, especially surrounding discrimination, and some unexpected wisdom. However, Singing the Dogstar Blues's heart concerns relationships. Joss has an estranged mother, an unknown father, and an absent "ex-step-parent", and she is working out what these relationships mean to her. Mavkel is mourning the loss of his twin, and discovering what it is to live in a non-telepathic society where you are truly alone. This is a story about finding common ground, about family and friendship.I can't recall exactly what I thought of this when I first read it, but I do remember being about 15 and thinking this the most hilarious novel ever. These days, I find it less amusing, but I don't know whether that's because I am older or because such moments are now too-familiar, courtesy of reading this book too many times in the intervening years. But it's still entertaining, moving, quotable... and wins points in my eyes for being about music, and for being set in a familiar city. And so Singing the Dogstar Blues remains my favourite YA science-fiction novel. "[My mother]'s postive I also inherited by attitude problem from him. She says being chucked out of twelve schools must be genetic."
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
17-year-old Joss Aaronson is an irreverent harmonica player, a first-year student in the time-jumping program at Australia¿s Centre for Historical Studies, and a stealthy player in the game against authority. When the Centre¿s first alien student, a Chorian named Mavkel, chooses her as his time-jumping partner, the two form an unlikely alliance. For Chorians need to be part of a pair to survive, and Mavkel has lost his birth-pair.Joss tackles prejudiced teachers, heavy security, a distant mother, and her own enigmatic background, but when Mavkel begins to waste away, Joss knows that the only way to save him is to go back in time and discover her own lineage. The result is a startling discovery that will rock what everyone believes of the Centre.It¿s been a while since I¿ve read a straight-up science-fiction YA novel, and yet SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES proves to be one of the best of its genre. With a great protagonist and a fully realized world, this small book will suck you in so fast you won¿t even realize when you¿ve lost your heart to it.Joss is, without a doubt, my kind of girl. A bit jaded, a bit too smart for her own good, she is thoroughly entertaining to read about. Her tongue-in-cheek observations and flagrant disregard for Centre rules make her the opposite of the passive protagonist I typically dread in YA lit, and yet she¿s not so rebellious as to be unrelatable. She is, in a sense, the kind of ¿bad girl¿ most readers have secretly imagined themselves being.Science fiction is difficult to write because it involves creating a thorough world and to consider the implications of adding any detail to the story. Luckily, Alison Goodman¿s world in SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES is remarkably believable and ¿real¿: I could very nearly see all that Joss sees through the sharp and precise writing.The one complaint I had about this book was the predictability of the ending. I figured out how things were going to unfold several chapters before Joss did. This is a recurring weakness in Goodman¿s novels (her YA fantasy Eon: Dragoneye Reborn had the same thing happen), and yet doesn¿t majorly detract from my utter delight in reading this book. Overall, I can solidly recommend SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES as one of the YA science fiction novels ever written. Don¿t miss out on this one!
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How best to describe this one... Joss, rebellious streak aside, wants to be a time travel cadet more than pretty much anything else that's come her way in the course of being kicked out of eleven different schools. As one of twelve finalists, she's about to be partnered and take her place as a first-year time-travel student. But when she's partnered with one of the alien Chorians and the future seems to be spinning out of control, Joss has to discover the truth about her past in order to save her future.A bit loose in the way of details (what exactly are they doing with the time travel devices, exactly?), this is still a fast-paced, well-written story that had me turning pages and ignoring a few missing details.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked the premise of the book. I liked the character of Joss, but this book was all over the place. Not much back story, it has too many elements that aren't really expanded on (Famous Mom, Lost Friend, Unknown Dad, Angry Professor, Blues Music) One or two would have worked, but not this many. The other thing that got to me was the Jargon... Its the future, the lingo has changed, but I still have to understand it. Generally, if you thought it about long enough, you could figure it out but still annoying.
Jellyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another awesome book by Alison Goodman in which she steals some of my ideas! She even uses a name I used in an online game -- Jorel. (Which people kept thinking meant Superman's dad, though it totally isn't! Do you see a hyphen in there?!)This is like.. a YA time travel school/first contact story. And like, more awesome than the title would lead me to believe. I don't like music in my fiction, as a general rule, and blues and jazz is about the worst.The main character's name is Joss, which I only remember because it's the first female Joss I've run across. Not that I've run across more than.. one before. She's been accepted into this elite program at the university to study to be a time traveler. Each student is paired up. But this class will have an alien as a student. So you can guess what happens there.The aliens come in pairs. They're born as a pair and have a telepathic bond and if one dies or the link is severed, then the other dies. Except when that doesn't happen, as in this case. And so the two heroes of our story have to learn how to be partners and etc. And did I mention there's also some computer hacking and a black market underground hacking thing involved? To make it that much more cool, of course.The only thing negative I have to say, which is something I also said about her other book I read, is that there are things about the plot that are predictable and inevitable. And in one particular case, I was just waiting around for the main character to figure it out already. Yet Goodman still manages to slip in a surprise here and there that I never saw coming. And the characters are enjoyable enough I'll go along for the ride in any case.So yea, awesome. And she needs to write more stuff so I have more to read!Also, if you're not reading Australian YA authors, you totally need to be. There's something in the water down there that's producing some great stuff.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seventeen-year-old Joss Aaronson is a smart-mouthed rebellious teenager who just got enrolled in the time-travel program at the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. She¿s mostly a loner, because the others deride her for being a ¿comp-kid¿ ¿ that is, she is a composite of various gene donors (although her mother swears she only used one father donor). In the first year at the Centre, students get paired up with partners with whom they will live, study, and travel throughout the six years of the program. Mavkel, a Chorian and the first alien student, says he wants Joss as his partner, because he claims, enigmatically, that they have ¿resonance.¿The Chorians are from a planet that has Sirius A, the Dog Star, as its sun. They are able to travel through time and space with a ¿warp gizmo¿ that scientists on Earth would love to have. In exchange, Earth is willing to trade time-travel technology. Thus, Makvel has been admitted to the elite program.Mavkel's physiological needs are an impediment, however; he needs to "partner" not just in the way the Centre dictates, but also in the Chorian way, which involves mind-sharing. Otherwise, Mavkel will die. He wants Joss to do this with him. She is willing, but first they have to figure out how to make it happen. And time is of the essence, since Mavkel is getting sicker and sicker.Evaluation: This is an occasionally cute, quirky book, but the author develops her various themes only half-heartedly. She wants to tie in a musical theme of the blues, but there¿s not much there beyond a few references to harmonica brands. She wants to have some fun with the anomalies of time travel, but doesn¿t evince the sophistication or skill of Connie Willis in this regard (and to be honest, few writers do!). But perhaps the weakest portion of all is the mystery. The author constructs a caricatured evil bad guy who very improbably has the time to run an internationally ¿ indeed ¿ galactically known research center, and still spend a great deal of time and energy in villainous activities.
PhoebeReading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's a shame that Harry Potter has done wonders for YA fantasy, but that no book has come along to elevate science fiction aimed at the same audience. The back flap of Singing the Dogstar Blues describes it as genre-bending, as if out of obligation, I hope, because there's very little that's bendy about it. This is a story about students--including one alien exchange student--at a school for time travelers. Though the science fiction tropes it adopts seem to come from a myriad of sources that don't always mesh seamlessly, there's no way that it's the "mystery story, family drama, thriller" that the publishers want us to believe.As a school story, and as fledgling science fiction, it's solid. The Chorians, though physically a bit too humanoid for my liking, have an interesting society formed around their hermaphrodite mating and dual birthing practices. Socially, they're pretty complex and believable, which isn't always the easiest thing to pull off.And the characterization of Joss Aaronson, her history (single-parent kid, her early childhood marred by divorce) and her tenacity are very believable. She's solid and lively--a worthy heroine.
rbaech on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic. The story is rich, the characters are very interesting.
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.
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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.