Title: Orpheus girl.
Author: Brynne Rebele-Henry.
Publisher: Soho Teen.
Page count: 176.
Release day: October 8th 2019.
Genre: YA, contemporary, retelling.
Rating: 4 stars.
*Thanks to Edelweiss for providing this ARC!*
What is it about? (Summary from GoodReads)
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.
I want to start with some trigger warnings (which I got from other reviews!): homophobia, transphobia, violence against LGBTQ characters!
This was a hard book to read. Not because of the writing, but because of the topic! Our main character, Raya, lives somewhere were LGBTQ is not accepted, they say it is a disease. She has known that she is lesbian for a while, but hasn’t told anyone, because she is afraid of what will happen to her. Until it is found out, and she is send to a camp to get her ‘fixed’.
Raya is such a strong character! The girl she likes is sent to this camp first, and when she gets there she is trying to save her. Which is not going to well. She goes through so much during this book, and you are really rooting for her!
At some parts when they are in the camp, I just had to put the book down for a bit, because it was too hard to read!
I really loved the writing style in this book. It was very beautiful! The beginning was very slow though, it took a while before the actual story picked up. Which was a bit weird because the book is already so short.
I took one star, because I didn’t really get the retelling part. And there is actually an explanation at the end about who is representing who. I feel like that should not be necessary if the retelling is done very well. But maybe that’s just me!
This is a very good book, but I only recommend it if you think you can deal with the topic!