Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Year Release: 2020
Source: NetGalley ARC
|Read an ARC from NetGalley
Electricity-powered Ilori attack Earth and subjugate humans as part of their expanding their reach across the galaxy. Janelle “Ellie” Baker keeps an illicit library. When another type of Ilori, a labmade named Morris, returns one of Ellie’s missing books, their friendship and connection sends them on a journey far from New York to neutralize a vaccine which could spell doom for the human race.
The music and references to other young adult novels are absolutely spot on. Dow deftly peppers them through the narrative, especially when connecting them to both the oppression brought by the Ilori, but also the rage that comes from injustices plaguing our world today. I appreciate Ellie’s musings of if humanity really is worth saving, especially given her lived experience as a Black girl in the United States. It gave her character so many layers as a heroine who wants to protect the things that matter to her most, rather than becoming a hero whose triumph saves the world.
The presentation of anxiety in this book is so spot-on. Even as Ellie gathers her courage to save her family and runs cross-country with Morris, her anxiety maintains a steady presence. It’s always there and doesn’t get magically cured by the end.
Definitely give this book a read for an alien invasion narrative in which humans find resistance in protecting their stories, music, and the people they love.