The Song That Moves the Sun

HarperTeen. Jun. 2022. 464p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063083523.
Gr 8 Up–Bright’s standalone contemporary space fantasy takes readers to the stars. Six weeks ago, everything changed for Rora and Claudia—and not for the better. So when they meet two boys who hail from concealed cities on other planets who promise Rora is the key to making everything better, that she can amplify the song that will heal the solar system, they suspend their disbelief and follow them. But the more they learn, the more Rora, Claudia, Major, and Amir realize that finding the reason for the disruption in each planet’s song will be as difficult—and as important—as finding the solution. The book alternates between Rora’s and Claudia’s first-person perspectives. Interstitial chapters focusing on the journeys of Dante Alighieri, Beatrice Portinari, and Marco Polo expand the worldbuilding while also urging readers to figure out exactly what has gone wrong in the solar system. The worldbuilding is deep enough to be enjoyable but not so complex as to trip readers up. The romantic subplots add to complex interpersonal relationships at the heart of this novel. Rora’s experiences with depression, anxiety, and PTSD may hit a little too close to home for some readers; Bright also lists content warnings for mentions of suicide, disordered eating, and infertility, in addition to content that may be triggering for readers with emetophobia.
VERDICT A solid pick for libraries whose readers who enjoy light fantasy and romance.

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