Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

“Expertly blends reality and fable to discover what’s in the back of love and loss, what it takes to heal.” – Randy Ribay, writer of National Book Award finalist Patron Saints of NothingAcclaimed author Lilliam Rivera blends a hint of magical realism into a timely tale about cultural identity, overcoming trauma, and the electricity of first love.Eury comes to the Bronx as a lady haunted. Haunted with the aid of losing everything in Hurricane Maria–and by an evil spirit, Ato. She absolutely expects the tragedy that befell her and her circle of relatives in Puerto Rico to seize up with her in New York. Yet, for a time, she can nearly set this fear aside, because there is this boy . . .Pheus is a golden-voiced, bachata-singing charmer, prepared to spend the summer at the beach with his friends, serenading his on-once more, off-again flame. That changes whilst he meets Eury. All he wishes is to put a grin on her face and combat off her demons. But some risks are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the sector threatens to rip them apart, Eury and Pheus must combat for every different and their lives.Featuring cutting-edge Afro-Latinx characters, this retelling of the Greek fantasy Orpheus and Eurydice is perfect for fans of Ibi Zoboi’s Pride and Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper.


Lilliam Rivera’s third young grownup novel, Never Look Back, breathes new existence into the parable of Orpheus and Eurydice, an ancient story of a woman gone earlier than her time and the boy who would do anything to store her. Rivera transforms this classic tale right into a symphony that intertwines the melodies of her characters, their neighborhood inside the Bronx or even readers themselves. It builds to a crescendo that reverberates into your very bones, the way simplest the most fantastic song can.

Pheus is ready to spend the summer at his dad’s, placing at the seaside with his buddies and taking full advantage of his musical talents and charm. Then Eury and her struggles arrive. Displaced after dropping her home in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria, Eury is staying with her cousin in the Bronx to get some rest and to present her mom a wreck after what the circle of relatives calls Eury’s “episode.” But Eury hasn’t come to New York alone. Everywhere she goes, Ato, an evil spirit, follows. When Eury and Pheus meet and sparks fly, Ato makes a circulate to make certain he and Eury will live together—forever.

Never Look Back honors the Afro Latinx track, language, background and records of its characters. It reads like a concert, every chapter a unique song, a few languid and slow, retaining readers putting on every word, others speedy and staccato, whipping readers round at a dizzying pace, going for walks to preserve up and misplaced in a cacophonous flood of words. Defying expectation and categorization, Never Look Back is a book no longer to be read with the mind however to be skilled with the soul. It is a revelation.

—Kevin Delecki


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