cover image A Song for Ella Grey

A Song for Ella Grey

David Almond. Delacorte, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-553-53359-0

Almond (The Tightrope Walkers) gracefully interfuses ancient archetypes with contemporary situations in this retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Set in northern England—a landscape familiar to Almond’s fans—the novel is told from the point of view of Claire, a restless high school student, whose dreams and imagination reach beyond the confines of her cold, dreary surroundings. “I wanted to experience that thing of being just me, moving on my own across the earth,” she laments. During a much-anticipated trip to the beach with some close friends, Claire is enchanted by Orpheus, a wandering musician whose beauty and skills with the lyre seem otherworldly. When Claire’s best friend Ella instantly falls in love with this stranger, Claire has misgivings; after it becomes apparent that Orpheus is just as smitten with Ella, Claire agrees to help them secretly elope, not knowing the height of wonder and depth of despair that will follow. Like Orpheus’s music, Almond’s lyrical narrative will sweep readers on a journey to unearthly, mysterious realms and back. Mythological characters come to life while remaining enigmatic enough to set imaginations spinning. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)