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.
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.
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 is left with the pain of looking on.
Raw, emotional, lyrical, funny, and true, A Song for Ella Grey is a tale of the joys, troubles, and desires of modern teens. It takes place in the ordinary streets of Tyneside and on the beautiful beaches of Northumberland. It’s a story of first love, a love song that draws on ancient mythical forces. A love that leads Ella, Orpheus, and Claire to the gates of Death and beyond.
Winner of The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
A PW Best Book of 2015
"Almond's lyrical narrative will sweep readers on a journey to unearthly, mysterious realms and back."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Innovative and dreamlike . . . and told in Almond's lyrical, distinctive prose. Teen readers of a literary bent and mythology enthusiasts will love this latest work."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
"Almond brings his hypnotic lyricism to this darkly romantic tale that sings of the madness of youth, the ache of love, and the near-impossibility of grasping death."—Kirkus Reviews
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.