Never Look Back
Never Look Back

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Annotation: A modern retelling of the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice, in which Eury leaves Puerto Rico for the Bronx, haunted by losing all to Hurricane Maria and by evil spirit Ato, and meets a bachata-singing charmer, Pheus.
Catalog Number: #293885
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 312 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-547-60373-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9871-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-547-60373-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9871-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2020008715
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Pheus can have any girl he wants, thanks to the soulful music he creates. Yet none has captivated him more than the mysterious Eury. Eury's coyness is not a game, however. She harbors a dangerous secret o, the embodiment of Death, follows her, visiting misfortune on anyone receiving her affection. Even worse is that no one believes that Ato exists. When, by chance, Pheus catches a glimpse of Ato, Eury finally feels like there is a chance for freedom. They must work together, braving the underworld itself, if Eury has any chance of escaping her fate. Rivera (Dealing in Dreams, 2019) retells the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice, setting it in a magic-filled version of the Bronx, infused with the borough's Puerto Rican and Dominican cultures. She showcases her masterful grasp of setting, integrating the complexities of the modern day with the gauzy haze of ancient myth through a slow, careful unveiling. Best of all, Rivera revises the original tale to give Eury her own voice, allowing her to fill a heroic role all her own.
Horn Book
Pheus is an Afro-Dominican, bachata-singing teen whose Bronx world is upended when he meets Eury, a Puerto Rican girl visiting New York after she is forced from her home in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Suddenly, instead of spending his time charming girls and going to the beach, Pheus feels driven to allay the trauma that follows Eury. Eury is hoping the evil spirit Ato, who has haunted her life since childhood, won't follow her to New York, and meeting Pheus distracts her temporarily from her troubles. But eventually, when she is attacked and falls into a coma, Ato finds her and takes her to el Inframundo (the Underworld), and Pheus follows on a quest to save her. This detailed reimagining of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice mixes contemporary realism with fantasy, starting with the backbone of the Greek myth and adding elements of Caribbean mythology alongside realistic issues of identity and trauma, as Eury's loved ones debate the best way to help her in her struggles with anxiety. Though one could enjoy this story without prior knowledge of the myth, knowing the original will likely give readers a unique appreciation for this version's updates.
Kirkus Reviews
An otherworldly Latinx retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in the South Bronx.Pheus visits his father in the Bronx every summer. The Afro-Dominican teen is known for his mesmerizing bachata music, love of history, and smooth way with the ladies. Eury, a young Puerto Rican woman and Hurricane Maria survivor, is staying with her cousin for the summer because of a recent, unspecified traumatic event. Her family doesn’t know that she’s been plagued since childhood by the demonlike Ato. Pheus and Eury bond over music and quickly fall in love. Attacked at a dance club by Sileno, its salacious and satyrlike owner, Eury falls into a coma and is taken to el Inframundo by Ato. Pheus, despite his atheism, follows the advice of his father and a local bruja to journey to find his love in the Underworld. Rivera skillfully captures the sounds and feels of the Bronx—its unique, diverse culture and the creeping gentrification of its neighborhoods. Through an amalgamation of Greek, Roman, and Taíno mythology and religious beliefs, gaslighting, the colonization of Puerto Rico, Afro-Latinidad identity, and female empowerment are woven into the narrative. While the pacing lags in the middle, secondary characters aren’t fully developed, and the couple’s relationship borders on instalove, the rush of a summertime romance feels realistic. Rivera’s complex world is well realized, and the dialogue rings true. All protagonists are Latinx.This fresh reworking of a Greek myth will resonate. (Fabulism. 14-adult)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (7/1/20)
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
Pura Belpre Honor (7/1/20)
Word Count: 65,912
Reading Level: 3.9
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.9 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 510650 / grade: Upper Grades

Expertly blends reality and fantasy to explore what's behind love and loss, what it takes to heal. - Randy Ribay, author of National Book Award finalist Patron Saints of Nothing Acclaimed author Lilliam Rivera blends a touch of magical realism into a timely story about cultural identity, overcoming trauma, and the power of first love. Eury comes to the Bronx as a girl haunted. Haunted by losing everything in Hurricane Maria--and by an evil spirit, Ato. She fully expects the tragedy that befell her and her family in Puerto Rico to catch up with her in New York. Yet, for a time, she can almost set this fear aside, because there's this boy . . . Pheus is a golden-voiced, bachata-singing charmer, ready to spend the summer on the beach with his friends, serenading his on-again, off-again flame. That changes when he meets Eury. All he wants is to put a smile on her face and fight off her demons. But some dangers are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the world threatens to tear them apart, Eury and Pheus must fight for each other and their lives. Featuring contemporary Afro-Latinx characters, this retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice is perfect for fans of Ibi Zoboi's Pride and Daniel Jos Older's Shadowshaper. A Pura Belpr Honor winner

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