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Never Look Back

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  583 ratings  ·  207 reviews
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 sp
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Bloomsbury YA
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  583 ratings  ·  207 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow! This is genius and challenging!

When I realize I’m reading the retelling of one of the most outstanding Greek myths: Orpheus and Eurydice with Afro- Latinx characters, I wholeheartedly enjoyed the idea.

So I dived into the story without reading any reviews for not being biased, went blind and wanted to get lost in the one of the heart wrenching tragedies.

Don’t worry, with her fascinating storytelling skills of Ms. Rivera’s, she presents us pure magical realism, discovery of cultural identit
update (nov/2020)
first thoughts: This is a book I won't be able to stop thinking about. Thoughtful, heartbreaking, and hopeful, a story about trauma and abuse, but also love and resilience. It's truly a love letter to Puerto Rico. What a book.

update (feb/2020): I WAS RIGHT AND LILLIAM GOT THE BEST, MOST GORGEOUS COVER EVER. ok, thanks. let's cry until this book comes out

update (may/2019)
A Latinx Orpheus and Eurydice retelling??? Yes, please! I know for a fact this book is going to get the best c
Natalia Sylvester
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m such a fan of Lilliam Rivera’s work & her latest did not disappoint. A beautiful love story about the ways trauma haunts us & how being seen helps open the path towards healing. There’s so much in this story that I loved, particularly the way Rivera writes about mental health.
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My rating for this book is actually about 4.8 stars, but I didn't want to be petty, so I gave this novel 5 stars because of the creativity and the phenomenal writing. After I read about 1-2 pages of this book, I was planing on returning this book to my online library and reading something else. But once I started reading chapter 3, I just couldn't put this book down.


This novel is about a girl named Eury who comes to visit the Bronx over the summer with her Mami (which is what sh

Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Lilliam Rivera is an author that I've been meaning to read for years now and I'm so glad I finally took a chance on this book. It was SO GOOD. The writing, the imagery, the characters...everything about this was just so beautiful and I enjoyed it so much.

When I heard that this was a retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice I had to pause and actually look up the myth because the only thing I knew about Greek myths is that they always end tragically. And this myth is no different. But I
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Actual Rating: 2.5 but rounding up because the writing itself is beautiful.

Never Look Back is a contemporary YA retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice, which is a cool idea, but this kind of feels like two different books and the cover really doesn't give a sense of what this book is like (aside from the fact that it centers Afro-Latinx characters). You can almost split this book in two and while I like both halves, they didn't work for me as a cohesive whole. This might be a case of t
rose ★
Feb 16, 2021 marked it as on-pause
i feel so bad for putting this book aside but. i don’t think i’m going to finish it right now.

the first part was lovely? but it’s been over two weeks since i even picked this up and just thinking of getting through that last ninety pages right now doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen anytime soon. which isn’t the books fault at all!

it’s just the mental state of my being currently, and i want to read this book at a different time when i can fully appreciate it. :)

pre review:

orpheus and euryd
Lupita Reads
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much. More to come later because my heart is a mess right now.
Cody | CodysBookshelf
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book!

Unfortunately, this book didn’t quite work for me; I suspect it’s more my fault than the book’s. It just wasn’t the right time. I’m trying to write a romance novel, and I’m full up on romance at the moment. Still, this is a cute and well-written story—albeit, as hinted at by the title, a bit bland and forgettable.

This is one of the few times I’ve read a book from Netgalley which I feel maybe I should reread one day
Feb 16, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: tbr-contemp-rom
yet another cover i would willingly tattoo on my forehead hello
Ms. Woc Reader
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a well done magical realism story about Pheus a gifted young musician at heart spending his summer in the Bronx with his father, and Eury a girl born and raised in Puerto Rico who is spending the summer with her aunt and cousin while she works past some trauma.

Eury is dealing with a spirit who has been present in her life since she was younger and her parents split up. This spirit followed her from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria displaced her family to Tampa and now New York. Phe
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 10-and-11
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Never Look Back in exchange for an honest review.

I had such a hard time rating this because my emotions towards the first and second halves of this book are so drastically different.

First off, Rivera's writing is unarguably beautiful. The imagery was incredible and you get a really good feel for all the characters in the first half. I loved getting to know Pheus & Eury and their friends/family.

My problem was, all the intrigue built at the beginni
Alicia (A Kernel of Nonsense)
** I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, which does not influence my review.**

TW: mentions of PTSD, suicide, sexual assault

Lilliam Rivera gives the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice an updated and fresh look with her newest novel, Never Look Back. Pheus, an Afro-Dominican teen from Manhattan, is never without his guitar and this summer while visiting his father in the Bronx is no different. There is nothing like the feeling of casting a spell over his audience, leaving them mesmerized and
Feb 18, 2021 added it
Orpheus and Eurydice is my most favorite Greek myth (i do love pain thank you very much) and this Afro-Latinx retelling of my beloved tragedy pleased my soul immensely. Told in alternating perspectives, Never Look Back follows Eury and Pheus from the Bronx to the Underworld as they discover whether or not their love can defeat an evil spirit that has been haunting Eury since childhood. This book did justice to the original myth and gave so much more to the story. It also addresses trauma and h ...more
Graciella Delgado
Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Such a beautiful retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice story.

With a familiar approach to Spanglish and vivid imagery and PAINFUL truths about grief and acceptance, my only critique is for the amount of pop-culture references and modern slang usage- it dates the book and feels too much at times. Popular slang seen all over social media isn't often used in every other sentence but the writing style, beyond that, felt informal in a fresh and comfortable way.

Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars.

A beautiful read and a wonderful retelling. I loved both Pheus and Eury, they were both such fleshed out characters.

I adored Eury the most, her story was fascinating, especially as someone who loves magical realism. The fact that this story is also about the struggles to overcome the stigma for receiving help for mental health issues, especially among bipoc. It felt very true reading about her struggles to be taken seriously.

It took a little bit for Pheus to grow on me, but knowing t
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I received a free copy from the publisher for review/hosting an event at work. This did not influence my opinion on the book.

This book is entrancing. A beautiful blending of a Greek myth with Latinx cultures, particularly Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Lilliam Rivera’s writing pulled me into the story immediately and the voices of Eury and Pheus were unique and well developed.

I’m absolutely looking forward to reading more of Lilliam’s writing in the future!
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, young-adult
3.5ish stars rounded up.

Initial thoughts: love me a Greek myth retelling, and I really enjoyed the slight twist on the ending. The second half gave me strong Percy Jackson/Gods of Jade and Shadow vibes. It did take me a little bit to get into, but the second half sucked me in.
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: came-soon-18-20
Full review:


“What’s the point of singing if you’re not using your voice to move mountains?”

In total, Never Look Back is a perfectly fresh take on a tale centuries old that balances tugging at your heartstrings while instilling hope. Rivera was already one of my favorite authors, and her writing improves with every book. You’ll fall in love with Eury and Pheus as the fall in love with each other, and enjoy each nugget of vulnerable, poetic writing alon
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, booktours
TW for mentions of Hurricane Maria, PTSD, sexual assault, and suicide

"It wasn't as if we weren't prepared for Hurricane Maria. We were. That day was different. What began as a slow build—some rain, some tossed palm trees— transformed into an unnatural predator."

Lilliam Rivera took the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and gave it an incredible twist in this contemporary YA filled with magical realism, the overcoming of trauma, and the power of love. We meet Pheus, who is a talented Afro-Dominican
Sharon Velez Diodonet
" Puerto Rico is not a cursed island meant to be repeatedly ravished, be it from hurricanes or corrupt men or demented spirits. If I let her thought nestle into my bones, I will stay complacent. I will accept evil as something warranted. I know I don't deserve this, and neither does my home."- Eury

Firstly, thanks to @bloomsburyya and @lilliamr for this gifted copy. Never Look Back completely gutted me. I finished it last week but I still can't find the words to express how beautiful this story w
Amanda Bishop
Between the premise and the cover, I really expected so much more from this book. I love a good retelling - and, even though I'm not especially familiar with the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, this one appealed to me, what with the mentions of evil spirits and local folklore. However, it fell entirely short of everything the synopsis promised to deliver. Instead, there was insta-love, a damsel in distress, a musician who thinks every woman he meets is bound to fall madly in love with him, and so ...more
Shannon McCarter
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Never Look Back is a modern retelling of the tragic story of Orpheus and Eruydice. I was pretty excited about this, but was quickly disappointed to learn that this story wouldn't be nearly intriguing as it's predecessor. The first half of the story is your typical summer romance, love-at-first-sight contemporary, where we meet our mains, Pheus and Eury. Pheus is a carefree musician and Eury is the new girl will a lot of emotional baggage. I was really looking forward to unpacking all of that but ...more
Jason Flatt
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The upcoming young adult novel Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera is an own voices retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Published by Bloomsbury with art by Krystal Quiles, Never Look Back tells the stories of Pheus and Eury. Pheus is a teenage boy living his best life wooing girls with his masterful bachata guitar playing and singing while living with his Pops in the Bronx from the summer. Eury is living with her aunt and cousin Penelope for the summer in the same building as Pheu ...more
3.5/5 stars
"In the chaos you create, you will find our pattern of hope."

Let me preface this review by saying I had absolutely no expectations when cracking this baby open. None. Now, whether that means I enjoyed it more than anticipated or not is up to debate.

This book wasn't really anything special, but I still found it relatively enjoyable. It's difficult to decide whether the simplicity of the writing and the shortness of the story helped or hindered what the author was aiming for. Si
Kasey Giard
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The thing that drew me to NEVER LOOK BACK was the spirituality of it and the fact that it’s a retelling. I feel like I have so much to say.

First– I really enjoyed the story. The characters feel so real and Eury and Pheus are so different that I could always tell whose point-of-view I was reading, even if I just flipped to a random page.

I liked that Eury’s curse was a complex problem with multiple pieces. (I’m being vague because there’s some of this that doesn’t get revealed until later in the s
“What is a spirit if not the result of a colonized, traumatic state?”            
All 👏🏼 of 👏🏼 this. I didn't personally witness Hurricane María and its devastating aftermath, but my parents did, and they tell me that survivors now suffer from collective PTSD. But what do we do when mental health issues are stigmatized by our own community?            

THIS NOVEL HIT ME RIGHT IN THE FEELS. It’s a Greek myth retelling featuring two afro-Latinx teens: Pheus, a smooth bachata singer (le d
Olga Gamer
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[thank you to Bloomsbury YA Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy of this novel, out on September 15th.]

"Never Look Back" by Lilliam Rivera is the modern Latinx retelling of the classical Greek myth, Orpheus and Eurydice, focusing on two teenagers set against the backdrop of the Bronx. Pheus, an Afro-Dominican teen, is visiting his father for the summer. With his masterful bachata guitar playing and his skillful voice and talent, he plans to pass the warm months on the beach wooi
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury YA for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book broke my heart and gave me hope. It’s a beautiful retelling of a Greek myth, but with contemporary Afro-Latinx characters and that magical realism that I love, I fell in love with the way the author made us get into the story and culture. This is a magical love story but for me, the most relevant thing was the fact that one of the characters was trying to overcome trauma, I’m amazed by how s
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Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning author of children’s books including her latest Never Look Back, a retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice set in New York by Bloomsbury Publishing. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Elle, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.

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