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Orpheus Girl

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  668 ratings  ·  241 reviews
In her debut novel, award-winning poet Brynne Rebele-Henry re-imagines the Orpheus myth as a love story between two teenage girls who are sent to conversion therapy after being caught together in an intimate moment.

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
176 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Soho Teen
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Brynne Rebele-Henry Hi! It's a standalone, but I haven't completely closed the door on Raya and Sarah, so maybe we'll see more of them in the future!…moreHi! It's a standalone, but I haven't completely closed the door on Raya and Sarah, so maybe we'll see more of them in the future! (less)

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Apr 29, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
doesn't this cover give you all the We Are Okay feels?? AND it's an f/f romance too.
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
This book is a great read! Raya is such a down to earth girl and it's so easy to follow her view. I feel sad for her how she craves to have her mom's love and attention but doesn't receive. Her feelings sound realistic and can be relatable to many readers because of where she lives and the constant fears she has living in a small town of strict church goers. I like her friendship with Sarah. Sarah seems like a great person as well. I like other supporting characters like Leon and Clio. I enjoy ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I already see this getting tons of low ratings so I figured I'd write a review to state my positive opinion.

A lot of people are saying this is queer pain for the sake of queer pain. This is the point I most strongly disagree on. Queer people have faced horrors and continue to face horrors all the time. Books like these are important because they remind us that these things still happen, and we can't just ignore it. Homophobes try to justify their prejudice with anything they can (the biggest
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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ORPHEUS GIRL is a loose retelling of the Greek Orpheus myth. In it, a girl named Raya is sent to a conversion therapy camp after she is caught having sex with her girlfriend, Sarah, in a conservative Texas town. There, the two of them are reunited, but it's bittersweet. In addition to the rigid gender role exercises and constant confessions, a terrible threat looms over them all.

So this book was... kind of amazing, actually. I was a little
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My heart is now in smithereens.

This book physically hurt me. My body felt bruised or exhausted, like I was dehydrated. The feeling would go away after I put the book down and stopped thinking about it, but as soon as I picked the book back up, there was that bruise-feeling. It’s because the experiences that these characters are forced to go through, because they are LGBTQ+, are as horrible as they are real. Raya and Sarah have to
Whitney Atkinson
2.5 stars

Thanks to the publisher for an advanced review copy!

This cover and the fact that this book is f/f gave me major Nina Lacour vibes, so I’m sad I didn’t enjoy this as much as I wish I would’ve. I’ll be first to admit that I’m not hugely well versed on Greek mythology, so I had to Google the myth of Orpheus and go from there. The character guide in the back was also really helpful to see how the story correlated to the myth. But other than having a cool plot structure and a strong bond
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
I didn’t immediately want to write a review for this one because I can’t stand writing 3 star reviews but here we go! Let’s attempt this!

Things I liked:
-Mythological elements, specifically the Orpheus retelling element and how present it was in the story
-The characters
-The writing, it was beautiful and it was easy to get through
-The length. For the content, I’m glad this wasn’t longer because I don’t think I could have handled it.

Things I didn’t like:
-Char as a “villain” or whatever she was
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Sep 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
received a DRC of this book from edelweiss in exchange of an honest review

(i'll come back later to update this with all the necessary TWs, it needs...a lot)

This book was just...queer pain for the sake of queer pain and i fail to sze the purpose of it. I don't think there's any purpose other than showing a lesbian as well as other queer folks getting tortured. The writing is beautiful but it was wasted on a story that didn't deliver any message. I also had a few issues with this book playing off
c, (½ of readsrainbow)
You know, the thing about family is that you can choose it. And I choose you.

On my blog.

Rep: lesbian mcs, trans side character, gay side character

CWs: homophobia (from family, slurs, telling them they're disgusting/going to hell), conversion therapy (aversion therapy with freezing water, later electroshock therapy), transphobia, suicide attempt

I put off writing this review so that I wasn’t some combination of fuming and heartbroken over this book when I wrote it. Only, every time I think
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: lesbian mc & li, trans side character, gay side character

arc provided by the publisher.

this is all metaphor & no substance. poets writing novels don't always succeed and unfortunately this is one of those times. we glide through the pages full of pretty words & we're told a lot of things about the characters and the plot, but there is absolutely nothing underneath it. there is no way to connect to anyone in this book, because none of them are actual people with personalities,
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 Stars

Full review here

Trigger warnings: homophobia, starvation, conversion therapy, physical and psychological torture, misgendering, self-harm, suicide attempt.

This book deals with some heavy themes and I'm not going to lie, it is not an easy read. This book tells the story of some young and queer people trying to escape from a place that is probably one of the closest things to hell this
I received an arc from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Content warnings: homophobia, lesbophobic slurs, homophobic slurs, conversion therapy, offscreen suicide attempt

This book is kind of the tragically beautiful you may expect from the summary and a book based on a Greek myth. It's a rare case of YA with an established relationship.

The writing in this was very atmospheric. It fit the book really well.

I also really loved the relationship. It was so soft and I
Liv Morris
May 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
In some ways, Orpheus Girlis old school YA. At 176 pages, it doesn’t waste time beating around the bush. It tells you exactly what’s up: Raya’s grandmother, her church, and most of her small Texas town are homophobic. Her mother abandoned her, and that sucks. Conversion therapy is evil. Think Judy Blume’s Forever, which stares issues of teen sexuality right in the face, names them, and addresses them directly. Rebele-Henry’s writing is clear, even beautiful at the sentence level, and at first, ...more
Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)
I want to thank Edelweiss+ and Soho Teen for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is a book that certainly puts me in a difficult situation because of the fact that, as I mentioned in my little review after reading it, it's very difficult to describe but it was very easy to feel, and I see that this fact will make it difficult to explain myself, but still I'll try as always with the greatest respect. I think this is a solid book since I think it's quite clear what the
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
DNF @ 20%

I'm putting this down for 2 reasons:

1) I'll be honest, I can't do a painful queer book right now. I'm not saying they don't need to exist, because they absolutely do. We need stories like this that tell people — especially cishet readers — how brutal the world's treatment of queer folks can be. But that doesn't mean that I, as a queer woman, am always going to be in the right mindset for reading it myself, and right now, I'm not in the right place for it. Things aren't bad yet, but I've
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
This one started out really good in the first few pages. Our main character confused and mysterious and dark and delicious. A mother who she only knows as someone playing Aphrodite on screen and she being the daughter longing for her mother. Our main character is also confused about her sexuality and she so knows what's going to happen if she jumps into a forbidden relationship.

But baam! The relationship happens. She's no longer confused. Everything keeps happening and the writing got too
rachael ♡
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"She's gripping red flowers in her left hand, so tightly they start to fall apart. She stands up, and then there's a door hanging over our heads and she turns to me. 'You go first. But don't look back.' But I do look back. I do."

Haunting and needed, ORPHEUS GIRL dives deep into the heartbreak, devastation and resilience teenage lesbian Raya feels when she is sent by her bigoted Christian grandmother to a "conversion camp" after being caught with her girlfriend.

Heavy trigger warning for
Yna the Mood Reader
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, arc
"Maybe I was wrong about my wings. I think that maybe the myth about Orpheus isn’t about losing your love: it is about learning how not to look back."

Series: No.
Genre: YA LGBTQ+ Fiction.
POV: First person.
Cliffhanger: No.

Content Warnings: Conversion therapy (Use of freezing water & Electroshocking), Homophobia, Transphobia, Suicide (Attempts), Starvation, LGBTQ+ Violence, Unconsented Outing, Using Slurs
Read if: you loved We Are Okay by Nina LaCour and other similar reads.

Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, lgbt, romance, arc, ya
An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

As someone who isn't queer, I am definitely not the right person to properly review this, but I'll give a few thoughts.

CW - homophobia, transphobia, self-harm, suicide attempt, conversion therapy

This is a devastating story about two queer girls who are publicly outed when caught together, and sent to a camp to be "fixed." It can be really painful and heartbreaking to read at times, but I really
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i really have no words...
Cailin Pitt
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful and broke my heart
Anwen Hayward
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, ya
I received an ARC from Netgalley and Soho Teen in exchange for my honest review.

This is a hard book to review. I was so desperate to love it. A wlw retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice sounded like the best thing ever. I wish it had lived up to my expectations. Maybe that's my fault for wanting too much from it.

In my view, simply having the protagonist state over and over again 'I'm like Orpheus because I'm going to rescue the girl I love' does not a retelling make. The idea behind this book is
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't have the words to properly express how much I loved this short yet profound book. It was a difficult read. It was too real, too relatable. But, at times, it was beautiful. There is a content warning on the jacket, for a reason. There are horrifying things in this book. Terrible, despicable, horrifying acts upon poor teenagers just trying to live their lives.

But these things happen.

They happen all the time to teens, to younger kids, to adults. Terrible things happen to queer people.

Moony MeowPoff
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got this book at Edelweiss+

I felt so much, this book, this book was so heartbreaking, so painful. I coud feel it in my chest. I begged for a happy ending, i begged for Raya and Sarah to be okay, to be together. it was somewhat beautiful too, i cried a little. But most of all, i felt pain, i felt anger, i felt lost - i i felt so much. I connected with Raya on such a level, this is what reading is about, to connect so much with tha characters... it hurts. I loved and hated every second, but
Emmy Neal
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
ooof, this book was hard to read. Exquisitely written, with great character, but also explicit and brutal torture scenes. I'm torn between the "this book is an important view of a terrible experience that queer kids from conservative families still endure" and "life is hard enough, give queer kids positive gay stories instead." I'd only recommend it with trigger warnings.
♛ Cameron ♛
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
TW: Homophobia, Forced Outing, Absent Parents, Conversion Therapy, Transphobia, Attempted Suicide, Incorrect Pronoun Use

I’ve noticed this book has started getting three star reviews from the straights but I guess that’s to be expected with f/f romances and them these days. I just don’t understand how anyone can see this story as anything less than impactful. One of the biggest complaints I’ve seen is that people think this is too short which I heavily disagree with. First of all, who would want
Brenna Clark
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Edelweiss for this ARC! I saw the synopsis and immediately knew it was a story I wanted to read. Inspired by Greek myths, Orpheus Girl is a tale of love, and the forces that will stop at nothing to extinguish it. The backdrop for the story was all too familiar; a small town in the middle of nowhere with people who had even smaller minds. Growing up in such places can make you feel like you're in a place time hasn't touched. Sure, they have cell phones and a bathroom inside their ...more
Brynne Rebele-Henry’s debut novel is heart breaking, intense, gripping and informative

Raya is from a small town in Texas living with her grandmother. Without the help of her mother that she never knew Raya has grown up learning and discovering things about herself, her body and her emotions with her best friend Sarah. But Raya and Sarah are more than just friends, they have hidden their love for years, but when their secret gets out both of them are sent to a conversion therapy camp. Driven by
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book did all kinds of things to this sapphic heart of mine. It is both gut-wrenching and sensitive, brutal yet lyrical. It grabbed hold and refused to let go until I had borne witness.

ORPHEUS GIRL is one of those books that only needs a few words to deliver. It's very short, but I think that adds to its impact. Through every word it is apparent that Brynne Rebel-Henry is a poet. And just like poetry, this book feels very personal.

This book is so important, so relevant, and I hope it gets
Melanie  Brinkman
"Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here."

- Marianne Williamson

Thank you SOHO Teen and Brynne Rebel-Henry for this Instagram giveaway arc!

Abandoned by her mother, and raised by her grandmother, Raya is not who she longs to be. Raya and her best friend Sarah are deeply in love. Living in a deeply homophobic Texan town, the two must hide their relationship. The couple is discovered and sent to Friendly Saviors : a re-education camp meant to "fix them." Raya vows to save
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Brynne Rebele-Henry was born in 1999. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Rookie, and Blackbird, among other places. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the 2015 Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has two books of poetry: Fleshgraphs and Autobiography of a Wound, which won the AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize and is a ...more
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