I received this book at no cost from the publisherA Song for Ella Grey by David Almond
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on October 13th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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David Almond, recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, a Printz Honor for Skellig, and the Printz Award for Kit’s Wilderness, has crafted an enchanting modern take on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Written in lyrical prose, this novel for fans of epic romances and mythology retellings explores themes of love, loss, fate, and destiny set against the dramatic and diverse backdrop of Northern England.
Claire and Ella and their friends are bound by ties so strong they seem unbreakable. Then the strange and handsome Orpheus strolls onto the beach, and he sings them all into an astonishing new understanding of themselves. Ella is caught the hardest, fastest, deepest—and Claire feels the pain of looking on.
Raw, emotional, lyrical, funny, and true, A Song for Ella Grey is a tale of modern teenagers and their joys, troubles, and desires. It’s a story of first love, a love that draws on ancient mythic forces. A love that leads Ella, Orpheus, and Claire to the gates of Death and beyond.
Orpheus has a gift of music and all of the girls are charmed by his talents. With many admirers, he falls upon Ella Grey, a seventeen year old who would rather daydream than finish her school work. Her best friend, Claire, tells the story of their romance. In this retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, the myth becomes modern. The island of Greece is replaced by Northumberland in England.
Claire is a wonderful narrator, who is in love with Ella herself. Even though, she doesn’t feel that Ella should marry Orpheus, she helps them elope, setting off a tragedy that costs both of them their lives. As Claire replays their romance in her mind, she realizes that they are ill fated from the start. The UK slang might take a bit away from American readers, but it is easy to figure out.
Overall, this is a romantic account of an ancient tale that remain true to the original. For me, Orpheus should have been playing a guitar to full update this one. I don’t think I have ever seen a lyre player with a fan club. Parts of the story were a bit too overly poetic for me, but it all works. Parents: since this book takes place in the UK, there is alcohol present and for that country, it is appropriate, also some language and sexual situations. If you are looking for a wonderful, dreamy romance, this is the one!
David Almond is a British children’s writer who has penned several novels, each one to critical acclaim. He was born and raised in Felling and Newcastle in post-industrial North East England and educated at the University of East Anglia. When he was young, he found his love of writing when some short stories of his were published in a local magazine. He started out as an author of adult fiction before finding his niche writing literature for young adults.
His first children’s novel, Skellig (1998), set in Newcastle, won the Whitbread Children’s Novel of the Year Award and also the Carnegie Medal. His subsequent novels are: Kit’s Wilderness (1999), Heaven Eyes (2000),Secret Heart (2001), The Fire Eaters (2003) and Clay (2005). His first play aimed at adolescents, Wild Girl, Wild Boy, toured in 2001 and was published in 2002.
His works are highly philosophical and thus appeal to children and adults alike. Recurring themes throughout include the complex relationships between apparent opposites (such as life and death, reality and fiction, past and future); forms of education; growing up and adapting to change; the nature of ‘the self’. He has been greatly influenced by the works of the English Romantic poet William Blake.
He is an author often suggested on National Curriculum reading lists in the United Kingdom and has attracted the attention of academics who specialise in the study of children’s literature.
Almond currently lives with his family in Northumberland, England.
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