Orpheus Girl
In her debut novel, award-winning poet Brynne Rebele-Henry re-imagines the Orpheus myth as a love story between two teenage girls who are sent to conversion therapy after being caught together in an intimate moment. Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has been forced to hide her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to escape Friendly Saviors, and to return to the world of the living with her love—only becoming more determined after she, Sarah, and Friendly Saviors' other teen residents are subjected to abusive "treatments" by the staff.In a haunting voice reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, with the contemporary lyricism of David Levithan, Brynne Rebele-Henry weaves a powerful inversion of the Orpheus myth informed by the real-world truths of conversion therapy. Orpheus Girl is a mythic story of dysfunctional families, trauma, first love, heartbreak, and ultimately, the fierce adolescent resilience that has the power to triumph over darkness and ignorance. CW: There are scenes in this book that depict self-harm, homophobia, transphobia, and violence against LGBTQ characters.

Orpheus Girl Details

TitleOrpheus Girl
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 8th, 2019
PublisherSoho Teen
Rating
GenreLGBT, Young Adult, Contemporary, Retellings

Orpheus Girl Review

  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    doesn't this cover give you all the We Are Okay feels?? AND it's an f/f romance too.
  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a great read! Raya is such a down to earth girl and it's so easy to follow her view. I feel sad for her how she craves to have her mom's love and attention but doesn't receive. Her feelings sound realistic and can be relatable to many readers because of where she lives and the constant fears she has living in a small town of strict church goers. I like her friendship with Sarah. Sarah seems like a great person as well. I like other supporting characters like Leon and Clio. I enjoy t This book is a great read! Raya is such a down to earth girl and it's so easy to follow her view. I feel sad for her how she craves to have her mom's love and attention but doesn't receive. Her feelings sound realistic and can be relatable to many readers because of where she lives and the constant fears she has living in a small town of strict church goers. I like her friendship with Sarah. Sarah seems like a great person as well. I like other supporting characters like Leon and Clio. I enjoy the humor in this book.This book is told in the first person point of view following Raya, 16 who is raised by her grandma because her teen mom abandoned her when she was 2. Her mom is an actress on TV and plays the Aphrodite character so Raya learns about ancient myths to prepare herself that if one day her mom comes back for her, she'll have something to talk to her mom about. Raya misses her mom a lot. She lives in a small town and is constantly afraid that someone will find out that she actually likes girls instead of boys. When gay teens in this small town got found out, they disappeared. Raya worries a lot when it will happen to her and where will she disappear to. This book is divided into 6 parts.Orpheus Girl is well written and a fast paced read! Church's involvement to cure homosexual is kind of funny and cruel. The people running the program talk down to them to make them feel less than a person while the activities such as doing strenuous exercises that they are put up to perform is just silly. Using the methods of torture such as electroshock to stop loving someone seems extreme. I am a bit disappointed with Raya's grandma. I realize she's a strict church goer but her own daughter got pregnant out of wedlock and she kept the baby instead of putting up for adoption or abortion so I would expect that she would give Raya a chance instead of sending her off. This book is LGBT in the old days where gays are unacceptable and cast out. I don't know much about Orpheus so I can't tell the retelling part. The story is still a good read despite some trigger warnings and I do recommend everyone to read this book!Pro: fast paced, page turner, LGBT, friendship, family, humor, easy to read, diversity,Con: trigger warnings of how gays are unacceptable back in the day and torture is used as a method to cureI rate it 4.5 stars!***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Soho Press for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.xoxo,Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
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  • Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestORPHEUS GIRL is a loose retelling of the Greek Orpheus myth. In it, a girl named Raya is sent to a conversion therapy camp after she is caught having sex with her girlfriend, Sarah, in a conservative Texas town. There, the two of them are reunited, but it's bittersweet. In addition to the rigid gender role exercises and constant confessions, a terrible threat looms over them all.So this book was... kind of amazing, actually. I was a little leery when I saw that the author was a poet, becaus Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestORPHEUS GIRL is a loose retelling of the Greek Orpheus myth. In it, a girl named Raya is sent to a conversion therapy camp after she is caught having sex with her girlfriend, Sarah, in a conservative Texas town. There, the two of them are reunited, but it's bittersweet. In addition to the rigid gender role exercises and constant confessions, a terrible threat looms over them all.So this book was... kind of amazing, actually. I was a little leery when I saw that the author was a poet, because what works in poetry doesn't always translate well to fiction, but ORPHEUS GIRL was a really lyrical novel with exceptionally vivid and unique imagery and the author did such a great job of putting a scene into your head, whether it was good or bad. I was high-key impressed with how Greek myths were woven into the storyline. Raya's mom is a soap opera star on a Greek myth-themed fantasy show and she's learned the myths to get closer to her mom in spirit, basically, but also casts herself as the heroine in her own hero's journey as a way of coping with her terrible situation.The book seems to be set in the 90s/early 2000s and does a great job of capturing a snapshot of what it was like to be a teenager in those times. I would know, because I was one. I loved the romance between Raya and Sarah, and how much they loved each other, and how that was juxtaposed against the more universal insecurities that plague adolescents worldwide. I love that there are more F/F books coming out, and honestly, this is one of the best ones I've read.I do want to issue a caveat that this book deals with some incredibly tough topics. What makes it worse is that conversion therapy and homophobia are real, so this isn't even fantasy; people suffer like this in real life. Some of the trigger warnings are suicide, self-harm, electroshock therapy (which is represented as torture), misgendering a transgender person on purpose and forcing them to dress like the opposite gender and go by their "dead name," and lots of other homophobic stuff.If you can stomach the content, it's so worth the read. What a beautiful, sad little book.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  4 stars
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  • Malanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest reviewMy heart is now in smithereens. This book physically hurt me. My body felt bruised or exhausted, like I was dehydrated. The feeling would go away after I put the book down and stopped thinking about it, but as soon as I picked the book back up, there was that bruise-feeling. It’s because the experiences that these characters are forced to go through, because they are LGBTQ+, are as horrible as they are real. Raya and Sarah have to live in constant/>My ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest reviewMy heart is now in smithereens. This book physically hurt me. My body felt bruised or exhausted, like I was dehydrated. The feeling would go away after I put the book down and stopped thinking about it, but as soon as I picked the book back up, there was that bruise-feeling. It’s because the experiences that these characters are forced to go through, because they are LGBTQ+, are as horrible as they are real. Raya and Sarah have to live in constant fear simply because they are themselves. Simply because they like girls. “We stay like this, her mouth on mine, my arms around her, until the sun rises and the light casts shadows like waves over our bodies.” It horrifies me to know that this is something that happens and has happened. It’s senseless and horrific, and being panromantic myself, I had trouble getting through this book. Reading this felt personal, frustrating, and vulnerable like an open wound. If you’re triggered by homophobia and transphobia, read this book with caution. Even though it’s beautifully written and contains the profound emotions of first love, it also records the devastating, immoral, unacceptable ways LGBTQ+ people can be treated in our society. ✨What is this book about?✨ Best friends Raya and Sarah are lesbian teens living in rural Texas. Even though they’re deeply in love, both girls have to keep their relationship a secret because of the extreme homophobia in their town. However, when a boy walks in on Raya and Sarah having sex, they’re outed and sent to Friendly Saviors re-education camp to be “fixed.” What follows is 176 pages of emotional imagery detailing their struggle to survive and escape the hell they’ve been sent to.Even though this is technically an Orpheus retelling, I’m not familiar with the original epic and didn’t get the references. I didn’t pay attention to that aspect, though I can say the overall tone felt tragic in a way that’s vaguely stoic, which is the essence of Ancient Greek mythology. As if the characters know that they’re going to endure tragedy and that’s what they’re resigned to do: Endure and endure until they no longer have to. While the audience is a devastated mess on the floor, the characters have this severe, tired approach to their own plot. I think the author did an incredible job at capturing this, and I admire her for it. “I dream of her. I think Char thought she could electrocute my love for Sarah out of me, but it has only caused me to love her more..” My main focus while reading this book was on the way the characters focused so deeply on love, even as they were systematically injured over and over. Their strength during these painful scenes made me feel miserable, but also gave me this deep sense of hope. When the protagonists are put through electric shock therapy to develop a “natural” aversion to being gay, so that their sexuality will always mean pain, I felt beyond heartbroken. But when they refuse to let these horrors destroy them, and Raya finds both comfort and determination in her girlfriend's arms? It made me feel more relieved than any book has in a long time. This book was so much darker than I could have predicted. The torture, both emotional and physical, that the characters endure at the re-education camp is graphic and hard to read. Unlike most of the books I've read in my life, this book isn’t meant to be enjoyed. It’s not a gentle, happy, soft love story (which I need for my health). It’s meant to jar the part of yourself that feels injustice. It demands that we protect one another, as people who are unable to, and should never have to, be anything but what we truly are.TW: homophobia, transphobia, torture (including shock therapy), characters publicly outed, abandonment|✨BLOG✨| ✨TWITTER✨|✨BOOKSTAGRAM✨|
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  • Whitney Atkinson
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsThanks to the publisher for an advanced review copy!This cover and the fact that this book is f/f gave me major Nina Lacour vibes, so I’m sad I didn’t enjoy this as much as I wish I would’ve. I’ll be first to admit that I’m not hugely well versed on Greek mythology, so I had to Google the myth of Orpheus and go from there. The character guide in the back was also really helpful to see how the story correlated to the myth. But other than having a cool plot structure and a strong/>Thanks 2.5 starsThanks to the publisher for an advanced review copy!This cover and the fact that this book is f/f gave me major Nina Lacour vibes, so I’m sad I didn’t enjoy this as much as I wish I would’ve. I’ll be first to admit that I’m not hugely well versed on Greek mythology, so I had to Google the myth of Orpheus and go from there. The character guide in the back was also really helpful to see how the story correlated to the myth. But other than having a cool plot structure and a strong bond between the two main characters, this book left a lot to be desired.For starters, it’s barely even 175 pages for an entire book about coming out, going to conversion therapy camp, falling in love, and more. Even though the size of this book was a huge inspiration in my motivation to read it, this book did itself a major disservice by rushing through a lot of the plot. Furthermore, a lot of the elements were really convenient and cookie cutter, and I never felt shocked or touched by what was happening because it all occurred so quickly. It almost feels like this is a book someone wrote for Nanowrimo where they rushed through everything just to get a complete story in 50,000 words, but it reads like a first draft where the author still has to go back in and add a lot of detail and plot description. Other than that, there’s not a lot to be said. Again, I liked the characters and the conflict and the setting of small town Texas (side note: I think this book is set in the 90s? It very much had that vibe and I loved it). The writing did have some lovely lines toward the beginning, but once this book picked up speed, it just progressed very mechanically with no character development and several elements thrown in as shock value without a lot of substance. I’m sure this book will be meaningful to some people, but it lacked enough spark to make me connect to it and I thought it was somewhat unrealistically and conveniently resolved, as much as I was cheering the girls on.
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  • Fadwa (Word Wonders)
    January 1, 1970
    received a DRC of this book from edelweiss in exchange of an honest review(i'll come back later to update this with all the necessary TWs, it needs...a lot)This book was just...queer pain for the sake of queer pain and i fail to sze the purpose of it. I don't think there's any purpose other than showing a lesbian as well as other queer folks getting tortured. The writing is beautiful but it was wasted on a story that didn't deliver any message. I also had a few issues wit received a DRC of this book from edelweiss in exchange of an honest review(i'll come back later to update this with all the necessary TWs, it needs...a lot)This book was just...queer pain for the sake of queer pain and i fail to sze the purpose of it. I don't think there's any purpose other than showing a lesbian as well as other queer folks getting tortured. The writing is beautiful but it was wasted on a story that didn't deliver any message. I also had a few issues with this book playing off of stereotypes but i'm too tired to expand on that now. off to sleep i go.RTC
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  • c,
    January 1, 1970
    You know, the thing about family is that you can choose it. And I choose you. On my blog. Rep: lesbian mcs, trans side character, gay side characterCWs: homophobia (from family, slurs, telling them they're disgusting/going to hell), conversion therapy (aversion therapy with freezing water, later electroshock therapy), transphobia, suicide attemptI put off writing this review so that I wasn’t some combination of fuming and heartbroken over this book when I wrote it. Only, every time I thin/> You know, the thing about family is that you can choose it. And I choose you. On my blog. Rep: lesbian mcs, trans side character, gay side characterCWs: homophobia (from family, slurs, telling them they're disgusting/going to hell), conversion therapy (aversion therapy with freezing water, later electroshock therapy), transphobia, suicide attemptI put off writing this review so that I wasn’t some combination of fuming and heartbroken over this book when I wrote it. Only, every time I think about it, my heart starts aching, so obviously, getting over it isn’t going to happen any time soon. (Also, not fuming in a bad way, more like fuming because of what happens in the book, because it just makes you feel so much.)Orpheus Girl is a retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, where hell (death) is conversion therapy, and they’re both lesbians. It’s narrated by Raya, a lesbian teen in a hugely conservative and religious town, who’s in love with her best friend. Then said best friend, Sarah, kisses her, and they start a relationship in secret, risking being found and sent to conversion therapy (which subsequently does happen).I think the sign of a good book is that it gives you strong emotions (unless it’s you being pissed off at the book, true). And Orpheus Girl did just that. I had to put it down at times because I was so angry at how Sarah and Raya were treated by the people who supposedly loved them and who they should have been able to trust. It’s one of those books that’ll leave you wanting to hit something, you’re so angry. But it also leaves you heartbroken (not because it’s a sad ending, don’t worry). Because it’s about the perpetuation of abuse in a way. Straight people abusing gay people into believing that they’re sinners/immoral/etc, and then the saddest bit, which is that the “cured” gay people go on to continue that abuse on another generation. (And now I want to hit something again.)Anyway, I’m so glad there was a happy ending, because I don’t think I could have stood having my heart ripped to shreds like that and there not being one.What I loved about this book was that it talked a lot about how you choose your family. And how you don’t have to forgive your blood family when they abuse you like this. Because a lot of books have found families, and the idea of choosing your family, but not so many that tell you you’re not at all obligated to forgive people who do such terrible things to you. It’s refreshing, to be honest.Finally, this is a very character-driven book, so obviously the characters had to be sympathetic and compelling. Which, duh, they were. I loved Sarah and Raya and Leon and Clio, and I spent most of the book being really nervous about what was going to happen to them next.In the end, the only issue I really had with this was that they didn’t burn the conversion therapy centre to the ground before they left.
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  • anna (readingpeaches)
    January 1, 1970
    rep: lesbian mc & li, trans side character, gay side character arc provided by the publisher. this is all metaphor & no substance. poets writing novels don't always succeed and unfortunately this is one of those times. we glide through the pages full of pretty words & we're told a lot of things about the characters and the plot, but there is absolutely nothing underneath it. there is no way to connect to anyone in this book, because none of them are actual people with personalities, just/> rep: lesbian mc & li, trans side character, gay side character arc provided by the publisher. this is all metaphor & no substance. poets writing novels don't always succeed and unfortunately this is one of those times. we glide through the pages full of pretty words & we're told a lot of things about the characters and the plot, but there is absolutely nothing underneath it. there is no way to connect to anyone in this book, because none of them are actual people with personalities, just props needed to tell the story. with that in mind, i don't think i could stomach reading about gay youth being tortured at a conversion camp. we all know how difficult a subject it is & it deserves more care than this book offers.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 StarsFull review here Trigger warnings: homophobia, starvation, conversion therapy, physical and psychological torture, misgendering, self-harm, suicide attempt. This book deals with some heavy themes and I'm not going to lie, it is not an easy read. This book tells the story of some young and queer people trying to escape from a place that is probably one of the closest things/> The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 StarsFull review here Trigger warnings: homophobia, starvation, conversion therapy, physical and psychological torture, misgendering, self-harm, suicide attempt. This book deals with some heavy themes and I'm not going to lie, it is not an easy read. This book tells the story of some young and queer people trying to escape from a place that is probably one of the closest things to hell this world has to offer: a conversion camp. To think that the things described in this book, such as conversion therapy where people are tortured, happen in real life is horrible and terrifying. But before arriving in this hell there's a lot of trauma that we see at the beginning of the book, such as the Raya and Sarah getting publicly outed and also their families sending them away because they think that the girls have some kind of problem for being who they truly are. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. After not being accepted from the people that are supposed to love them, these girls get sent away to essentially be tortured. The strength that Raya, the main character and also the narrator of this book, shows even in the most dreadful of times is amazing. Even in the worst moments, when we feel like all hope is lost, she focuses on the only positive aspects: her girlfriend Sarah, who is there with her, and the other young people that are living this hell on earth alongside her. Such strength is only to be admired. Even though this book is not an easy read, it's definitely an eye-opening one that will make you realize the horrors that unfortunately some people have to go through.
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  • Natasha
    January 1, 1970
    I received an arc from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Content warnings: homophobia, lesbophobic slurs, homophobic slurs, conversion therapy, offscreen suicide attemptThis book is kind of the tragically beautiful you may expect from the summary and a book based on a Greek myth. It's a rare case of YA with an established relationship. The writing in this was very atmospheric. It fit the book really well. I also really loved the relationship. It was so soft and I wa I received an arc from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Content warnings: homophobia, lesbophobic slurs, homophobic slurs, conversion therapy, offscreen suicide attemptThis book is kind of the tragically beautiful you may expect from the summary and a book based on a Greek myth. It's a rare case of YA with an established relationship. The writing in this was very atmospheric. It fit the book really well. I also really loved the relationship. It was so soft and I wanted nothing but the best for these girls. It's definitely a heavy book, and I definitely recommend if you can handle heavy subjects.
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  • Liv
    January 1, 1970
    In some ways, Orpheus Girl is old school YA. At 176 pages, it doesn’t waste time beating around the bush. It tells you exactly what’s up: Raya’s grandmother, her church, and most of her small Texas town are homophobic. Her mother abandoned her, and that sucks. Conversion therapy is evil. Think Judy Blume’s Forever, which stares issues of teen sexuality right in the face, names them, and addresses them directly. Rebele-Henry’s writing is clear, even beautiful at the sentence level, and at first, In some ways, Orpheus Girl is old school YA. At 176 pages, it doesn’t waste time beating around the bush. It tells you exactly what’s up: Raya’s grandmother, her church, and most of her small Texas town are homophobic. Her mother abandoned her, and that sucks. Conversion therapy is evil. Think Judy Blume’s Forever, which stares issues of teen sexuality right in the face, names them, and addresses them directly. Rebele-Henry’s writing is clear, even beautiful at the sentence level, and at first, Orpheus Girl is a refreshing read.Unfortunately, unlike Forever, things quickly get muddled. There are two major problems here: underdeveloped characters and plot contrivance. It doesn’t help that the premise is reminiscent of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a popular YA book about conversion therapy that recently spawned a Chloe Grace Moretz vehicle, while the cover art and parts of the plot call to mind Nina LaCour’s excellent We Are Okay. None of the characters in this book have consistent, coherent personalities. Raya loves Greek mythology, we’re told, but we never actually see her reading it, talking about it, thinking about it; she only ever brings it up for the sake of metaphor. And unlike with Cameron, who is a firecracker from the beginning of her story, it’s hard to understand why she decides to talk back to and rebel against authority at the conversion camp; doing so takes a fierceness that we just don’t see from her in the first part of the book. Like the protagonist of We Are Okay, she lives alone with a widowed grandparent, whom she both loves and struggles to love; however, while Marin’s grandfather is complex and tenderly drawn, Raya’s Grammy is cardboard. Similarly, Sarah, Raya’s girlfriend, has no defining personality traits. Most baffling of all is Char, who runs the camp’s “treatments” and immediately calls to mind Cameron Post’s Lydia (her coworker, Hyde, is very similar to Rick). She swings wildly between cruel torturer to tortured savior, depending on which is convenient for the story. A “cured” lesbian, she’s apparently been administering these horrific “treatments” to countless teens over several years, but she’s only just now, with Raya’s arrival (but completely uninfluenced by Raya herself), considering helping them escape. Honestly, Char’s random character changes are the only thing that move the plot forward past the first section of this book. Raya does nothing; Char is always the one who decides to either torture or save her and Sarah. This, combined with cringeworthy plot contrivances with no buildup or tension (car crash, anyone?), made me want to pull my hair out.It’s not all bad. Orpheus Girl has some truly lovely writing, and it doesn’t shy away from the horrors of conversion therapy and early 2000′s homophobia. Its open ending, like Cameron Post’s, is much more satisfying than a neat, tied-up one would have been. And I don’t mean to imply that Rebele-Henry is intentionally ripping off either Emily Danforth or Nina LaCour. But this book just doesn’t live up to its promise as a modern retelling of Orpheus - beyond character names and Raya’s own insistence that she is “like Orpheus,” there is little to no resemblance to the myth - and it does beg comparison to other YA novels that are, at the end of the day, much better.
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  • Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)
    January 1, 1970
    I want to thank Edelweiss+ and Soho Teen for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.This is a book that certainly puts me in a difficult situation because of the fact that, as I mentioned in my little review after reading it, it's very difficult to describe but it was very easy to feel, and I see that this fact will make it difficult to explain myself, but still I'll try as always with the greatest respect. I think this is a solid book since I think it's quite clear what the author wants to e I want to thank Edelweiss+ and Soho Teen for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.This is a book that certainly puts me in a difficult situation because of the fact that, as I mentioned in my little review after reading it, it's very difficult to describe but it was very easy to feel, and I see that this fact will make it difficult to explain myself, but still I'll try as always with the greatest respect. I think this is a solid book since I think it's quite clear what the author wants to express with it, it's not easy to read, though, because it's really painful, I'll explain a little later, but it also has a powerful touch of reality and discovery that really reaches your heart and makes it very difficult to stop reading because you want to know what will happen to the characters. Source3/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️You can find more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought. The book follows Raya, who has been abandoned by her mother as a child and has been raised by her grandmother. Raya's going through a moment of personal discovery and has realized that the great friendship that unites her with her best friend Sarah, has always been something more like love. Both are very afraid of coming out because they live in a small, highly religious and conservative town, so when their families and the entire town finds out about their relationship, they're both sent to a re-education camp to "fix" them. Once there, they suffer the worst treatment and Raya begins to see herself as Orpheus and decides that her mission is to rescue her beloved from that hell to finally escape all those abuses. Even now, when I think of the book I feel a pain in my stomach, and it's really difficult for me to describe it, as it's difficult to tell you whether I liked it or not. I think it's a powerful and shocking story that crudely presents how cruel people can be when they can't accept diversity. On the one hand, I feel that there's a great truth in all this, even today there are many entire communities that don't accept queer/trans people and denigrate them in unimaginable ways, so of course this book has a great realistic impact, I must give credit to the author for that, because although it's very difficult to read about this type of discrimination and degradation to a human being, it is also important to open your eyes and know that these dark and terrible things really happen out there. On the other hand, and here I want to bring you a point that I want to make very clear, I feel that this book is extremely and unnecessarily painfully. I understand what the author wants to tell and convey, but I personally think that there's a limit of suffering when these types of topics are touched. What do I mean by this? well, I'm not queer, but I still defend LGBT+ rights a lot so this story impacts me a lot and I had to put the book down for a while because provoked a very high level of pain on me, so I can't even imagine what it will mean to all my beloved queer/trans people out there. This is really personal too, but I think maybe in order to want to create a shocking story that reaches many people and becomes popular, unnecessary boundaries are crossed. I can really count on the fingers of one hand the times I experience a good feeling reading this little book, and I think it really was like 2 times. The rest is a torment of negative emotions and we experience moments where we read about people being tortured until they lose their heads or almost die, in very hard-hitting scenes. I don't know if I would recommend something like this to my dear friends, you know? I don't want to be bad, but this is exactly what I feel. You don't have to make a plot like this, where people are tortured to torment and subjected to great subhuman humiliation to cause an impact. Well, I really needed to put those feelings out there, now talking about some positive things, I'm fascinated by the element of mythology, you already know that I think it's very well thought out and how each mythological character is brought to life is very interesting to see.Loved the love story between Sarah and Raya, if this romance had happened at another time, it would have been all pure happiness and enjoyment. It shows and feels very honest and there's also a certain innocence of the discovery going on among the girls who made me smile. It's sad to see everything they have to go through and how much they have to fight to be together or not, because their future is really uncertain. It's all very unfair what happens to them, but well, I suppose it's the point of the book, right? I still think they're adorable together, I really like this relationship.The writing style is very good and addictive, which eases the read so hard content. Despite the things I didn't like about the book, I highlight the way it's written and I would like to read more about the author at some point.I recommend this book? Maybe, but not for everyone, that's for sure. If you're a sensitive person, maybe you should pass, but if you're interested in reading a powerful story about the difficult path that these queer and trans boys must go through to be able to have some kind of future then go for it, I think that despite everything it has a very interesting voice and the characters are good.I want to make clear before finishing, that I get the author's idea with this story and I respect her point of view and her way of writing that is very successful, but I don't share the need to use a plot so exaggeratedly violent and sad to prove a point. I think this could negatively impact people of the LGBT+ community, that's why I recommend discretion and send you all my love!TW : self-harm, homophobia, transphobia, and violence against LGBTQ characters.Original Thoughts | 10-05-2019This is one of those books that's actually very difficult to describe, but easy to feel.If you're a queer person then surely it will be a lot more touching and harder for you to read this, but still, a little bit of this story stays with me. I love the management of mythology within the story and as the author refers to it in the end, I think it's a great detail.This short story follows a group of gay/trans boys trying to escape from a very dark place so they can be free and live their lives as they want. It's sad and really heartbreaking, but it has a lot of meaning as well and soon I'll try to elaborate the plot a little more, in my FULL REVIEW. I have A LOT of feelings right now, that's for sure.
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  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 20%I'm putting this down for 2 reasons:1) I'll be honest, I can't do a painful queer book right now. I'm not saying they don't need to exist, because they absolutely do. We need stories like this that tell people — especially cishet readers — how brutal the world's treatment of queer folks can be. But that doesn't mean that I, as a queer woman, am always going to be in the right mindset for reading it myself, and right now, I'm not in the right place for it. Things aren't ba DNF @ 20%I'm putting this down for 2 reasons:1) I'll be honest, I can't do a painful queer book right now. I'm not saying they don't need to exist, because they absolutely do. We need stories like this that tell people — especially cishet readers — how brutal the world's treatment of queer folks can be. But that doesn't mean that I, as a queer woman, am always going to be in the right mindset for reading it myself, and right now, I'm not in the right place for it. Things aren't bad yet, but I've been warned of specifics later in the book, and I know right now that the whole conversion therapy plot in general isn't jiving with my mental health, and there's nothing wrong with that!2) I don't enjoy the narrative voice. This is the only reason this is going on my DNF shelf instead of my "finish-me-soon" shelf. If I liked the writing in this more, I would wholeheartedly snatch this story back up the moment I felt up to the subject matter, but unfortunately, the narration is lackluster and the characters are one-dimensional.This was one of my most anticipated fall 2019 releases, so I'm pretty bummed out to put this one down. Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Reading Tam Ishly
    January 1, 1970
    This one started out really good in the first few pages. Our main character confused and mysterious and dark and delicious. A mother who she only knows as someone playing Aphrodite on screen and she being the daughter longing for her mother. Our main character is also confused about her sexuality and she so knows what's going to happen if she jumps into a forbidden relationship.But baam! The relationship happens. She's no longer confused. Everything keeps happening and the writing go This one started out really good in the first few pages. Our main character confused and mysterious and dark and delicious. A mother who she only knows as someone playing Aphrodite on screen and she being the daughter longing for her mother. Our main character is also confused about her sexuality and she so knows what's going to happen if she jumps into a forbidden relationship.But baam! The relationship happens. She's no longer confused. Everything keeps happening and the writing got too boring. The grandmother who was so controlling turned indifferent all of a sudden. The writing is so underwhelming except for the first few pages. The characters are underdeveloped. The sexuality issues and the young characters exploring their sexuality have not been represented well at all. The better parts of the story is all about homophobia but this too has not been represented the way any character would feel that scared or obtracized. All the main character's interest seem to lie in hooking up and not getting caught but behaving in such a way she wanted to get caught. At the most, what this book made me feel was getting irritated with the main character. These characters are really careless and appear rather stupid given the fact that they wanted to be careful and not get caught and stay safe. And the rest of the characters' job is just to be homophobic and call names. And several other characters did get introduced to help shape the main character. But sadly, it didn't work. I didn't care at all about how the book ended. But yes, I did read till the end. But the ending was underwhelming as well. I won't recommend this book. Poorly executed. Retelling not done justice.
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  • rachael ♡
    January 1, 1970
    "She's gripping red flowers in her left hand, so tightly they start to fall apart. She stands up, and then there's a door hanging over our heads and she turns to me. 'You go first. But don't look back.' But I do look back. I do." Haunting and needed, ORPHEUS GIRL dives deep into the heartbreak, devastation and resilience teenage lesbian Raya feels when she is sent by her bigoted Christian grandmother to a "conversion camp" after being caught with her girlfriend. Heavy trigger warning for homophobia "She's gripping red flowers in her left hand, so tightly they start to fall apart. She stands up, and then there's a door hanging over our heads and she turns to me. 'You go first. But don't look back.' But I do look back. I do." Haunting and needed, ORPHEUS GIRL dives deep into the heartbreak, devastation and resilience teenage lesbian Raya feels when she is sent by her bigoted Christian grandmother to a "conversion camp" after being caught with her girlfriend. Heavy trigger warning for homophobia, slurs, attempted suicide, self-harm, and physical and emotional torture. This book is a short but compelling and emotional retelling of the Orpheus myth with a queer lens. The ache and hope I felt while reading this book reduced me to sobs at the end. This book is so important for allowing readers who are not queer to experience first hand the terror of homophobia, especially when that homophobia is "well-intentioned". It also shows queer readers that they are not alone, that they are worth fighting for, and that family can be found even in the darkest of places. Sometimes your family isn't your blood and that's perfectly okay. ORPHEUS GIRL nails that and I haven't stopped thinking about this book for hours. I highly recommend it. Thank you to Soho Press for sending me an ARC to review. All opinions are my own!
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.As someone who isn't queer, I am definitely not the right person to properly review this, but I'll give a few thoughts. CW - homophobia, transphobia, self-harm, suicide attempt, conversion therapyThis is a devastating story about two queer girls who are publicly outed when caught together, and sent to a camp to be "fixed." It can be really painful and heartbreaking to read at times, b An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.As someone who isn't queer, I am definitely not the right person to properly review this, but I'll give a few thoughts. CW - homophobia, transphobia, self-harm, suicide attempt, conversion therapyThis is a devastating story about two queer girls who are publicly outed when caught together, and sent to a camp to be "fixed." It can be really painful and heartbreaking to read at times, but I really loved Raya and Sarah. Raya has a particular obsession with Greek mythology, and I really liked the author's way of weaving myths into the story.I did find the writing style a bit too...amateur-ish, I guess is the best word. There are constant jumps between past and present, almost like a stream of consciousness, and it got really distracting for me to try and keep track of events. The writing is definitely my biggest complaint for the story, but it is a quick read otherwise.Blog | Twitter | Instagram
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  • Anwen Hayward
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from Netgalley and Soho Teen in exchange for my honest review.This is a hard book to review. I was so desperate to love it. A wlw retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice sounded like the best thing ever. I wish it had lived up to my expectations. Maybe that's my fault for wanting too much from it.In my view, simply having the protagonist state over and over again 'I'm like Orpheus because I'm going to rescue the girl I love' does not a retelling make. The idea I received an ARC from Netgalley and Soho Teen in exchange for my honest review.This is a hard book to review. I was so desperate to love it. A wlw retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice sounded like the best thing ever. I wish it had lived up to my expectations. Maybe that's my fault for wanting too much from it.In my view, simply having the protagonist state over and over again 'I'm like Orpheus because I'm going to rescue the girl I love' does not a retelling make. The idea behind this book is incredibly interesting, and I think it's absolutely within the author's remit. She's clearly very talented, and honestly, I think this book could have worked with a lot more editing. However, having the book segmented and titling each section after aspects of the myth doesn't make each section actually resemble the myth structurally. Towards the end, the retelling aspect finally came together for me with a very clever musing on what it actually means for Orpheus to look back, but it was too little too late for me. It was frustrating because it showed what the author was capable of, but the book didn't deliver.Myth was used very oddly in this book. The protagonist constantly makes reference to really esoteric myths (e.g. Atalanta, who I would say is not the best known of mythic characters) but we never see her reading mythology, or studying it, or talking about it to someone else. We never get a sense that she actually knows or loves these myths for her to be referencing them. We never get any sense of depth at all from any of the characters. We randomly hear facts about people (e.g. we learn about halfway through that the narrator's grandmother presses and sells corsages) but just learning a fact about a person, apropros of nothing, doesn't give us any window into who they are as a person, especially when the fact comes from nowhere and is never mentioned again. The characters of Hyde and Char are particularly bad; Char flip-flops from one extreme to the other with no continuity and no reason. Even the main love interest, Sarah, has no personality. She drinks black coffee and prefers it when it's gritty because she likes the bitterness. OK, but what does that mean for her? How does this manifest?There were some other things that made me uncomfortable, too. There's a Russian character who speaks like a parody of every Russian character ever (e.g. dropping 'the' a lot, getting American idioms wrong in a way that's portrayed as something to laugh at). The plot culminates in the attempted suicide of a trans character, who has barely any role in the novel before that point and whose fate we never hear about; his suicide attempt is just a vehicle for the cis characters to escape, and using trans suicide like that is really iffy to me. The majority of the second half of the book is just graphic (and inaccurate) depictions of electric shock treatment (it's administered without anaesthetic), which struck me as somewhat ableist for those who still undergo ECT. These are all things that we are past accepting, particularly in YA literature, and it was disappointing to see them here.The actual writing is beautiful, and the author absolutely has a talent for words beyond her years, but it does not translate into a coherent or well-structured narrative. I believe that she's usually a poet, and I have to say that this book would have been so, so much better had she written it as a series of poems. Poetry is different from narrative fiction and the two require different things to work. This book needed characterisation and effective plot. Poetry needs beautiful language and imagery, amongst other things, which this book has in spades. I would have eaten this book up if it had been allowed to be the poetry that this author is clearly comfortable with.I wanted to love this book. I really, really did. I can't recommend it in its current state, but I think the author is going to do very exciting things in the future. She's already written more than most people twice her age, and the quality of her writing is ridiculously advanced. I just don't think this novel is ready yet, not without a lot of editorial guidance.
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  • Emmy Neal
    January 1, 1970
    ooof, this book was hard to read. Exquisitely written, with great character, but also explicit and brutal torture scenes. I'm torn between the "this book is an important view of a terrible experience that queer kids from conservative families still endure" and "life is hard enough, give queer kids positive gay stories instead." I'd only recommend it with trigger warnings.
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  • Circe
    January 1, 1970
    This book did all kinds of things to this sapphic heart of mine. It is both gut-wrenching and sensitive, brutal yet lyrical. It grabbed hold and refused to let go until I had borne witness. ORPHEUS GIRL is one of those books that only needs a few words to deliver. It's very short, but I think that adds to its impact. Through every word it is apparent that Brynne Rebel-Henry is a poet. And just like poetry, this book feels very personal. This book is so important, so relevant, and I hope it gets This book did all kinds of things to this sapphic heart of mine. It is both gut-wrenching and sensitive, brutal yet lyrical. It grabbed hold and refused to let go until I had borne witness. ORPHEUS GIRL is one of those books that only needs a few words to deliver. It's very short, but I think that adds to its impact. Through every word it is apparent that Brynne Rebel-Henry is a poet. And just like poetry, this book feels very personal. This book is so important, so relevant, and I hope it gets all the attention it deserves. Conversion therapy still happens, and we can't ignore the horrible realities of it.Trigger warnings for: homophobia, conversion therapy, transphobia (all very graphic and violent because this takes place majorly at a conversion camp), and a suicide attempt. So please, please be aware of this if you decide to read it.Huge thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for a honest review!
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  • Melanie Brinkman
    January 1, 1970
    "Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here." - Marianne WilliamsonThank you SOHO Teen and Brynne Rebel-Henry for this Instagram giveaway arc!Abandoned by her mother, and raised by her grandmother, Raya is not who she longs to be. Raya and her best friend Sarah are deeply in love. Living in a deeply homophobic Texan town, the two must hide their relationship. The couple is discovered and sent to Friendly Saviors : a re-education camp meant to "fix them." "Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here." - Marianne WilliamsonThank you SOHO Teen and Brynne Rebel-Henry for this Instagram giveaway arc!Abandoned by her mother, and raised by her grandmother, Raya is not who she longs to be. Raya and her best friend Sarah are deeply in love. Living in a deeply homophobic Texan town, the two must hide their relationship. The couple is discovered and sent to Friendly Saviors : a re-education camp meant to "fix them." Raya vows to save herself and Sarah from this hell.Two souls held captive, desperate to be freed. A tragic tale of never-ending love.Trigger warning for homophobia, child abandonment, graphic practices towards LGBTQ+ youth, transphobia, and attempted suicide.Raya was quietly, desperately struggling to fit into roles she couldn't. Watching the fire ignite within her as her world exploded was painfully empowering. Raya's determination was awe-inspiring.Unfortunately, compared to Raya's bursting to life personality, Sarah fell completely flat. As beautifully deep as their relationship was, it was heartbreaking to watch them enter hell on Earth just to prove it.From the steadfast Leon, to the confusingly wishy-washy Char, there were a whole host of characters suffering alongside Raya at camp Friendly Hell (Saviors). Sparsely worded backstories helped propel some of them into reality, while it left the rest as flat as cardboard cutouts.Sandwiched between dizzying time jumps, was a lyrically brutal book. Never have so few words enveloped me in such a vast amount of pain. In her character driven book, Brynne Rebel-Henry's way with words laid bare what is a heartbreaking reality for so many. While impactfully necessary, Orpheus Girl's ending was abrupt and contrived. The book also seemed more akin to Greek tragedy, then to specifically the Orpheus myth.Orpheus Girl was painfully relevant.
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  • ~ Althea | themoonwholistens ~ ☾
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so excited for this!!Thank you to Soho Press for sending me an ARC to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
  • Moony MeowPoff
    January 1, 1970
    I got this book at Edelweiss+ I felt so much, this book, this book was so heartbreaking, so painful. I coud feel it in my chest. I begged for a happy ending, i begged for Raya and Sarah to be okay, to be together. it was somewhat beautiful too, i cried a little. But most of all, i felt pain, i felt anger, i felt lost - i i felt so much. I connected with Raya on such a level, this is what reading is about, to connect so much with tha characters... it hurts. I loved and hated every second, but i' I got this book at Edelweiss+ I felt so much, this book, this book was so heartbreaking, so painful. I coud feel it in my chest. I begged for a happy ending, i begged for Raya and Sarah to be okay, to be together. it was somewhat beautiful too, i cried a little. But most of all, i felt pain, i felt anger, i felt lost - i i felt so much. I connected with Raya on such a level, this is what reading is about, to connect so much with tha characters... it hurts. I loved and hated every second, but i'm so glad i got to read this book.
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  • Maha
    January 1, 1970
    i really have no words...
  • Brenna Clark
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Edelweiss for this ARC! I saw the synopsis and immediately knew it was a story I wanted to read. Inspired by Greek myths, Orpheus Girl is a tale of love, and the forces that will stop at nothing to extinguish it. The backdrop for the story was all too familiar; a small town in the middle of nowhere with people who had even smaller minds. Growing up in such places can make you feel like you're in a place time hasn't touched. Sure, they have cell phones and a bathroom inside their hou Thank you to Edelweiss for this ARC! I saw the synopsis and immediately knew it was a story I wanted to read. Inspired by Greek myths, Orpheus Girl is a tale of love, and the forces that will stop at nothing to extinguish it. The backdrop for the story was all too familiar; a small town in the middle of nowhere with people who had even smaller minds. Growing up in such places can make you feel like you're in a place time hasn't touched. Sure, they have cell phones and a bathroom inside their house, but will they stand for someone who is in love with a person of the same sex as them?The answer, as our protagonist Raya soon finds out, is no. From birth, she was different. She was born with extra bones on her back that almost looked like the sprouting of wings. They were removed, of course, but throughout her life the absence of them caused her excruciating anxiety and self doubt. She felt ugly because of her scars, until Sarah. They grew up together, and recognized a deep longing in each other that they couldn't let surface around anyone else. They spent their time emulating the popular girls; trying to hide. When they are suddenly found out, the church that they both attend recommends a conversion camp.This is the most haunting narrative I've ever read about these horrific places. What makes it even worse is that I know these things have happened and continue to happen to human beings. Raya, Sarah, and their newfound friends at Friendly Saviors walk through hell and back. They are abandoned by those they love and trusted most; their family. They are told day in and day out that they are wrong, broken, and doomed. This plus the myriad of 'treatments' forced upon them do nothing besides make them a shell of their former selves. It's a race against time as Raya and Sarah try to escape with not only each other, but their minds.I loved the Greek myth aspect of this book, and how wonderfully matched the characters were to their respective god or goddess. Raya is of course Orpheus, and Sarah her wife; Eurydice, whom Orpheus goes to hell (conversion therapy) to rescue. There's plenty more in the cast of characters, but I thought that the most poignant was the name of Raya's hometown in Texas. Pieria was also Orpheus's birthplace, and later became his burial site. One can only assume that if Raya stays in her town, she would never leave and would continue to pretend her entire life.All in all, this is a heartbreaking story that is unfortunately a reality for many LGBTQ+ kids in less accepting places. We need narratives like these so we don't forget their suffering, and that conversion camps are still a very real, very scary thing. One day I hope that this novel and others like it will become like the Greek gods and goddesses it holds in reverence; myths. We've made a lost of progress as a nation, but we still have so far to go, and I'm so grateful to this lyrical journey for going on a mission to remind others of that fact.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    I had no idea how the description of "David Levithan meets Sylvia Plath" would work, but actually, that's a spot on description. This is a queer retelling of Orpheus, following a girl named Raya who lives with her grandmother in a small, conservative Texas town in the early 00s. She's in love with Sarah, and they've been caught together being intimate. Both Sarah and Raya are sent to a re-education camp meant to help them change from being lesbian to being straight. Raya hopes to bust her, Sarah I had no idea how the description of "David Levithan meets Sylvia Plath" would work, but actually, that's a spot on description. This is a queer retelling of Orpheus, following a girl named Raya who lives with her grandmother in a small, conservative Texas town in the early 00s. She's in love with Sarah, and they've been caught together being intimate. Both Sarah and Raya are sent to a re-education camp meant to help them change from being lesbian to being straight. Raya hopes to bust her, Sarah, and her fellow "campers" out, but after stealing a bus and crashing it, she and Sarah end up in a new level of therapy at the center: shock therapy. This is a lyrical read about two girls who are deeply in love in a place where it's unsafe to be so and how it is they're able to stay true to themselves and their hearts when everyone is trying to change both. I'm a little unsure about why this is set in 2004 (I knew it wasn't set today because of the lack of technology, but the line about it happening the year after Madonna and Britney kissed on TV landed a year for me). I was in college then, and so my knowledge of lgbtq history here is not strong -- my super liberal college was open and accepting of queer identity -- but I'm wondering if a little more context on that choice would have been worthwhile. That might have detracted, of course, from the writing and style itself. The author was born in 1999, so this isn't a nostalgic choice. There's certainly pain here, but it's a compelling reimagining of a myth and would pair really nicely with All Our Pretty Songs which reimagines the same story. There's a short character list and their mythological counterparts at the end of the book.
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  • hope
    January 1, 1970
    It's really hard to rate this book. Because while I think it could have been written better, it's an important book and I'm glad it's being published.This book takes the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and modifies it to a story set circa early 2000s. Raya and Sarah are two lesbian teenagers who grow up in a small southern town, have their relationship exposed at a party, and are then sent to a camp by their families to be "fixed" with the help of religion-based therapy and electr It's really hard to rate this book. Because while I think it could have been written better, it's an important book and I'm glad it's being published.This book takes the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and modifies it to a story set circa early 2000s. Raya and Sarah are two lesbian teenagers who grow up in a small southern town, have their relationship exposed at a party, and are then sent to a camp by their families to be "fixed" with the help of religion-based therapy and electroshock treatment.It's a tough read. Raya's life thus far as a motherless outsider is depressing, and her relationship with her grandmother is particularly heartbreaking for me. Sarah is the lone bright spot in her life, especially once the girls find out their feelings for each other are requited, but they have to live with the constant paranoia of whether they have been discovered and the need to perform as "straight" girls to fool their schoolmates and family.The section where they are sent to the camp is especially hard to get through. Not so much because of what the book describes (although that was difficult enough) but because this actually happened (and could still be happening?) to teenagers today. Helpless kids sent by their families to "correct" them, subjected to cruel treatment that claimed to heal them, ruining their lives forever. There was a passage where Raya talked about the difference between people that put on a good face and say they don't mind gay people but then their actions say otherwise, and how it's almost preferable to deal with people who are upfront and honest about how much they hate the LGBT community. That really stuck with me, especially since this month is Pride month. Corporations try to profit off of being "allies" by slapping a rainbow design on a bottle of vodka, or Chik-fil-a presents a wholesome image and then donates to anti-LGBT groups behind the scenes....I guess I'm trying to say that thank goodness we have improved as a society beyond what the book describes, but we have such a long way to go.The reason I'm knocking off a couple of stars is because I think that this story needs to be workshopped. With the right editor, this could become an excellent book. I think this was only like 180 pages, and it really needed to be longer. Some parts of this book, especially Raya's inner thoughts, were excellent. Sarah needed to be more fleshed out, as did a few more of the kids at the camp, and the Char and Hyde characters were a mess. The ending also felt a little rushed and could have been handled differently. But I would like to say I am so glad this book featured two women--while I love diversity in YA lit, there's more M/M books out there than F/F.Whew. Okay. I didn't mean to type out this much.
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  • Claudia Amendola
    January 1, 1970
    Hemingway always used to say, "Write what you know." It is clear that the author of this book writes from her own experiences. It is short but powerful, and when you are reading it, you feel as though you are in the young girl's shoes. But it also reads more like a blog post or a diary entry, and I find that many things are consistently repeated by the narrator. There are a lot of moments where I said to myself, "Yeah, you've said that already." or, "Haven't I read this part already?" or, "Okay, Hemingway always used to say, "Write what you know." It is clear that the author of this book writes from her own experiences. It is short but powerful, and when you are reading it, you feel as though you are in the young girl's shoes. But it also reads more like a blog post or a diary entry, and I find that many things are consistently repeated by the narrator. There are a lot of moments where I said to myself, "Yeah, you've said that already." or, "Haven't I read this part already?" or, "Okay, we get it." And the author doesn't need to mention Orpheus' story a million times - we get it - that's the name of your novel, we understand the reference after the first time, that's enough now (even so much as calling part three 'Entering Into Hell' -- insert eyeroll emojii here). The entire "myth" reference is stupid and poorly placed, to be honest with you. It is inconsistent and weak. I also find that the plot lacks consistency and ideas jump around with no linear plan. It happens a lot with "stream of consciousness" style writing, but I wouldn't even call it that. I think it's just bad editing. Or when a student hands in an essay without re-reading it. Despite all that, it was a pretty captivating read, and the young author does write with a skill beyond her years.I would love this to be a book I recommend to my students, but I could get some flack for it from parents. Some of the content, while making the story so much more real, may not be received too well. As a queer individual, this is the kind of book I wish I had when I was a teen. It's like 'Go Ask Alice' but for the gays.
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this book so much. Rural teen lesbian romance + Greek mythology seems to hit all the spots for me. Yet, halfway through, I was horrified to find that a 1/4-1/3 of this book focuses on graphic details of electroshock therapy. These descriptions did not feel like they were interrogating that past and present atrocities inflicted upon queer communities - instead it felt as if these scenes functioned as mere plot device, a way of illustrating the modern day Underworld from which our I wanted to love this book so much. Rural teen lesbian romance + Greek mythology seems to hit all the spots for me. Yet, halfway through, I was horrified to find that a 1/4-1/3 of this book focuses on graphic details of electroshock therapy. These descriptions did not feel like they were interrogating that past and present atrocities inflicted upon queer communities - instead it felt as if these scenes functioned as mere plot device, a way of illustrating the modern day Underworld from which our Orpheus and Eurydice try to escape. I am in no way suggesting that the horrors of medical experimentation and torture of queer bodies should be erased from cultural memory. But there are enough examples of queer/AFAB bodies being maimed in the literary cannon - we deserve better; we deserve more complex depictions of queers surviving and thriving.
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  • Ashley Owens
    January 1, 1970
    I received an electronic ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.Was it painful? Yes. Was it beautiful? Also yes.I sped through this book - I was hungry for it. The gorgeous words, the hard truths, and the engaging story. Every word felt purposeful, and I was completely immersed in the story.If I have one complaint, it would be that I feel like I didn't get to know the side characters as well as I would have liked, including Sarah who is the MC's lov I received an electronic ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.Was it painful? Yes. Was it beautiful? Also yes.I sped through this book - I was hungry for it. The gorgeous words, the hard truths, and the engaging story. Every word felt purposeful, and I was completely immersed in the story.If I have one complaint, it would be that I feel like I didn't get to know the side characters as well as I would have liked, including Sarah who is the MC's love interest (no spoilers, that's literally on the book's description).Trigger warnings for homophobia, self-harm, torture.
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    reading this blurb genuinely made me tense up. this is absolutely going to shatter me and it will be worth it.
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