A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker
Luce Cannon’s music career is taking off with her song “Blood and Diamonds”. She’s touring with a great band and loves playing live and winning over new audiences every night.
Then everything changes. Terror attacks send the U.S. into a panic and then comes a deadly virus that spreads quickly. The government steps in to enact congregation laws banning large public gatherings. People begin to live their lives without human contact, living and working online in Hoodspace (a hoodie is worn to connect to virtual reality).
Luce’s music will not be silenced. She takes her royalties and begins performing illegal concerts to those who remember “the Before” and human connection.
Rosemary Laws is too young to remember much from the Before. Her entire life has basically been in Hoodspace: school, friends, dating, and now her job as a customer service rep for the corporate giant Superwally (think Wal-Mart & Amazon combined). She lives on a wind farm in a small town with her parents who are the only people she has contact with regularly.
She lucks out when she’s given tickets to an online concert and discovers a love of music. Then she’s offered a job seeking out new musical talent to sign who will bring their music to virtual reality. The catch? She’ll not only be going out in public regularly but traveling to cities she’s only heard about and attending illegal concerts.
Alternating between Luce and Rosemary’s stories, their paths eventually connect. Luce mourns the Before, offering insight into music and human connection that makes Rosemary begin to question the way things have become.
A Song for a New Day is a dystopian/speculative fiction novel set in the near future. The plot feels entirely plausible, the atmosphere is exciting, and the characters feel authentic. I wish there’d been more explanation about the Before; essentially all we know is that some terrorists wreaked havoc and were eventually caught but people remain fearful. Readers get some background on the two MCs (mostly Luce) and world-building (I would’ve loved a bit more!) but the primary focus in this novel is the music and human connection.
A Song for a New Day is intense, immersive, and highly entertaining. I recommend this to readers who are passionate about music and enjoy modern day dystopias / speculative fiction.
Thanks to Berkley Books and the Penguin First to Read program for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. A Song for a New Day is scheduled for release on September 3, 2019.