Monday, May 1, 2017

Back Jacket Hack Job #18: Starswept

A post by Mary Fan
Hi everyone! Mary here, and it's my turn to do a Back Jacket Hack Job! For those of you who are new, this is a recurring feature where one of us chooses a book and does the worst job possible writing its back cover description. This time, I've chosen to pick on my own upcoming YA sci-fi novel, STARSWEPT (coming August 29 from Snowy Wings Publishing!).


Viola [vee-oh-luh]: NOT A VIOLIN. A four-stringed musical instrument of the violin family, slightly larger than the violin with lower pitches. Related to the violin but decidedly NOT A VIOLIN.

Once upon a time, there was an alien planet where people could just show each other their thoughts, so there was no need to get creative or anything. But then they discovered this primitive little planet called Earth where peoples’ ability to express themselves was hobbled by their inability to be telepathic. So to compensate, these humans developed things like music and dance and whatnot. Turned out, the aliens quite liked these things and began hiring humans to perform on their planet. So the humans set up schools to train kids specifically for these jobs. It was an awesome system.

Pictured: A viola. NOT A VIOLIN.
Also, not the cover. Just a promo pic.
Then some teen girl named Iris had to go mess it up. She was a student at one of these school, studying viola. That’s VIOLA, not violin.

Now, the viola is an often-neglected instrument in the string family. I suppose you could call it the red-headed stepchild, though that would be hair-ist. It looks a lot like a violin… Actually, its shape is pretty much exactly like a violin’s. But it is NOT A VIOLIN. It’s bigger, and its pitches are deeper, and it plays an entirely different part in the orchestra. Well, kind of. I mean, it’s a different section. If string instruments were a choir, violas would be the tenors. Except not as glamorous.

You know who else isn’t glamorous? Iris. Much like her instrument, people often forget she exists. Which is just as well, since for most of her life, she wasn’t particularly interesting… goody two-shoes and all. Until she decided to mess up the system. It’s not completely her fault though—she was corrupted by an alien boy who came to Earth to spread his radical propaganda to humans. Horrible stuff like how sometimes his people use telepathy for mind control. But of course the aliens would never abuse their ability like that! What a troublemaker. And he turned Iris into a troublemaker too.

Anyway, not content to screw things up from Earth, Iris uses the power of her viola to travel to the alien planet and really mess with the system. And she gets herself into quite a lot of trouble because of it. Tsk.

Well, at least by the end, people know who she is. And what a viola is.



Carrie Beckort said...

My daughter did a strings camp a few summers back and she chose the viola. When I asked her why that and not the violin (not because I have a problem with the viola, I just often ask her to explain her decisions) she said simply, "It's different and I like how it sounds." :) Unfortunately, she didn't stick with it (or any other instrument). I guess I'll have to pick up a copy of Starswept and live vicariously through Iris!

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

Nothing you can say can deter me from reading this.

Mary Fan said...

Aw yay! And that's so cool about your daughter picking viola. Even if it didn't last haha. I was a violinist but always wanted to play viola... and then of course my sister (who's 8 years younger) gets a viola after I advised my parents that violists are rarer and therefore it's easier to get into youth orchestras. I've been threatening to steal that viola ever since ;-)

Mary Fan said...

Glad my viola proselytizing hasn't put you off ;-)

Brenda St John Brown said...

Oh, I love the sound of this! My question -- does playing the viola badly sound like a cat dying? Because, to me, that's what playing the violin badly sounds like, which always put me off string instruments.

Mary Fan said...

LOL! Probably... though the strings are lower so it won't be as squeaky?

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