Happy Monday, bibliophiles! Hard to believe that it’s almost the end of July already…
Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.
I used a random number generator on my TBR shelves to pick this one out, and as with most of the books I pick for these, I’d forgotten about it completely. But if it’s well-executed, this novel looks like a lush, contemporary retelling of the myth of Orpheus.
Let’s begin, shall we?
GOODREADS MONDAY (7/20/20)–ORPHEUS GIRL by Brynne Rebele-Henry
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.
So why do I want to read this?
Whew, this definitely sounds like a rough ride…
I’m expecting the need for a box of tissues for Orpheus Girl, but nonetheless, this sounds like a hauntingly beautiful and sapphic retelling of the myth of Orpheus. Even though YA has tackled a few Greek myths, this one isn’t one that I often see retold, and I’m eager to see how Rebele-Henry puts her unique spin on it.
And though YA has made some incredible strides in LGBTQ+ literature, conversion therapy, as tough as subject as it is to cover, isn’t something I often see; it’s a horrific part of history, but in remembering our LGBTQ+ history–and all history in general–it’s imperative that we factor in the bad and the good. So props to Rebele-Henry for tackling such a horrific subject matter. Then again, I don’t know how she’s handled it, but we’ll see.
Either way, I know I’m gonna cry, but I’m 100% in.
That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!