Fall 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“In this fresh remix, Lilliam Rivera deftly combines original details with contemporary Afro-Latinx life in the Bronx, from the flirty bounce of bachata to the weight of Hurricane Maria and its impact on island communities and diaspora. I love how this character-driven romance humanizes Pheus and Eury — they are accessible, complex teens distinctly of our time who face an ancient and destructive threat with equal parts assuredness and fearful trepidation. A satisfyingly feminist ending rounds out this myth retextured for our modern moment. Immersive and intense, Never Look Back will make you want Rivera to retell all of your favorite classics.”
— Niki Marion, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
"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 José Older's Shadowshaper.
A Pura Belpré Honor winner!
About the Author
Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels Dealing in Dreams and The Education of Margot Sanchez. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Lenny Letter, Tin House, Nightmare Magazine, and Magazine for Fantasy & Science Fiction, to name a few. Lilliam grew up in the Bronx and currently lives in Los Angeles.
“A revitalized and layered retelling that 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
“Haunting and richly detailed, this is a beautiful re-imagining that will hurt and heal, sometimes on the same page.” —Mark Oshiro, author of ANGER IS A GIFT
“Never Look Back reimagines the Orpheus myth into a bold creation that only Lilliam Rivera could breathe into life. A strange, unsettling love song of a book.” —Elana K. Arnold, Printz Honor-winning author of DAMSEL
“Seamlessly blends Caribbean and Greek myth into a contemporary teen novel, exploring realistic aspects of identity, stereotypes, trauma, and romance.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Honors the Afro Latinx music, language, heritage and history of its characters. . . . Defying expectation and categorization, Never Look Back is a book not to be read with the mind but to be experienced with the soul. It is a revelation.” —BookPage, starred review
“This isn't a note-for-note retelling. It's something else altogether: a pensive exploration of the deep trauma historically suffered by colonized and enslaved peoples and how that entwines with more recent hardships, like Hurricane Maria, whose damage is worsened by the remnants of those same institutions. . . Never Looks Back sings its own love song to the world.” —NPR
“One of the most anticipated books of 2020.” —Women's Health
“This fresh reworking of a Greek myth will resonate.” —Kirkus Reviews
“If you wanted to hold on to those rollercoaster beach-side romances a little bit long, we highly recommend this one.” —Girls' Life
“Combines realism with magic along with an exploration of the critical need for better mental health care. . . . An emotionally challenging journey filled with peril and truth-telling.” —School Library Connection
“An absorbing supernatural romance.” —BCCB
“Rivera masterfully intertwines ancient and modern lore, leaving readers gasping for breath by the authentic but satisfying conclusion.” —Shelf Awareness Reader
“This detailed reimagining of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice mixes contemporary realism with fantasy.” —The Horn Book Magazine
“As brutal as it is beautiful, Dealing in Dreams pulls no punches, launching us on a wild, relentless ride through the cutthroat streets of this brilliantly-realized dystopian world.” —Daniel José Older, author of the New York Times bestselling series Shadowshaper Cypher, on DEALING IN DREAMS
“Introducing Lilliam Rivera, one of the most unique and exciting new voices in YA.The Education of Margot Sanchez is funny, poignant, compelling and authentic.” —Matt de la Peña, acclaimed author of LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET, on THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ
“Shatters the myth of assimilation by exposing the loss and ache that comes with it. Instead, Lilliam Rivera tells the reader that there is nothing more powerful and beautiful than staying true to oneself.” —Isabel Quintero, author of GABI: A GIRL IN PIECES, on THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ
“Taking cues from Judge Dredd, Mad Max, and The Hunger Games, Rivera . . . has created a uniquely brutal hellscape. . . . Readers are left with a more ambiguous--and ambitious--tale that will have them questioning what kinds of people they'd be if freed from society's mores.” —Booklist, starred review, on DEALING IN DREAMS
“Rivera effectively presents the complexity of female relationships, which will resonate strongly with readers. . . . A novel exploration of societal roles, gender, and equality through the eyes of captivating lead.” —SLJ, starred review, on DEALING IN DREAMS
“A debut of great candor, depth, and empathy.” —Booklist on THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ