Never Look Back

Bloomsbury. Sept. 2020. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547603732.
Gr 9 Up–This is a modern retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice Greek myth featuring Latinx teens. Eury and her mother lost their home to Hurricane Maria but Eury knows it was no ordinary storm. The death spirit Ato befriended Eury as a child. As she grew older, he became more possessive and sinister, wreaking havoc to get her attention and promising to take her to el Inframundo, the Underworld, so they could be together forever. No one believes Eury and she is wary of trusting people with her secret. While visiting her cousin in the Bronx, she meets Pheus, a talented and charming Afro-Dominican bachata musician. Pheus wants to spend all his time getting to know Eury and soon learns that her traumatic experience in Puerto Rico was created by a supernatural being, something outside of his comfort zone. Spending time with Eury makes him reevaluate his life, the way his friends treat others, and his casual romances. When Ato finally succeeds in taking Eury to the Underworld, Pheus risks everything to bring her back but must follow the cardinal rule of all myths: Don’t turn around. This book seamlessly blends Caribbean and Greek myth into a contemporary teen novel, exploring realistic aspects of identity, stereotypes, trauma, and romance.
VERDICT This #OwnVoices novel is highly recommended for all teen collections. No prior knowledge of the original myth is needed, but readers may be inspired to research it after devouring this compelling and updated retelling.
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