ARC Spoiler-Free Review: ORPHEUS GIRL by Brynne Rebele-Henry

#MediaGalReads’ spoiler-free ARC review of Brynne Rebele-Henry’s ORPHEUS GIRL

ORPHEUS GIRL by Brynne Rebele-Henry is a heartbreaking yet hopeful story of two girls in love who must escape a conversion therapy camp as inspired by the story of Orpheus. This post DOES NOT CONTAIN SPOILERS.

I graciously obtained this ARC from Soho Teen who kindly sent it to me for an honest review. Here is the summary and shortened review.

Summary: 

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 years Raya has been forced to hide her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to escape Friendly Saviors, and to return to the world of the living with her love—only becoming more determined after she, Sarah, and Friendly Saviors’ other teen residents are subjected to abusive “treatments” by the staff.

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Why I was interested: When Soho Teen told me the story takes place in rural Texas in 2004, I wanted to read about how what I remember around that time was brought into the story and not make it feel like it happened within the last year. I also have never read about conversion therapy through the POV of a character but I believe it’s important to empathise with people and be aware of this horrible act people — especially young people — are forced to go through. 

Why I was interested: When Soho Teen told me the story takes place in rural Texas in 2004, I wanted to read about what I remember around that time was brought into the story and not make it feel like it happened within the last year. I also have never read about conversion therapy through the POV of a character but I believe it’s important to empathise with a community and be aware of this horrible act people — especially the younger ones — are forced to go through. 

Judge a book by it’s cover: I love the slight nod to the Orpheus tale as Raya and Sarah leave together with hope.

What to expect: I’s a shorter read at about 160 pages. However, it does not lack in frustration or heartbreak as Raya’s story of falling in love with her best friend, getting shipped to and enduring the camp, and leaving with Sarah hand-in-hand is a gut-punch. 

Why you should pick this book up: This book opened my eyes to what little I knew about conversion therapy camps LGBTQ+ people are sent to by force. What the girls go through is terrible and will last with them for the rest of their lives. However, they are determined on being their true selves others wish to rid of and show how love can truly prevail. Want more?: If you want more of Brynne Rebele-Henry’s work, she also has a books of poetry including AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A WOUND and FLESHGRAPHS.

Why I was interested: When Soho Teen told me the story takes place in rural Texas in 2004, I wanted to read about how what I remember around that time was brought into the story and not make it feel like it happened within the last year. I also have never read about conversion therapy through the POV of a character but I believe it’s important to empathise with people and be aware of this horrible act people — especially young people — are forced to go through. 

Judge a book by it’s cover: I love the slight nod to the Orpheus tale as Raya and Sarah leave together. 

What to expect: I’s a shorter read at about 160 pages. However, it does not lack in frustration or heartbreak as Raya’s story of falling in love with her best friend, getting shipped and enduring to the camp, and leaving with Sarah hand-in-hand. 

Why you should pick this book up: This book opened my eyes to what little I knew about conversion therapy camps LGBTQ+ people are sent to by force. What the girls go through is terrible and will last for them for the rest of their lives. However, they are determined on being their true selves others wish to rid of and show how love can truly prevail. 

Want more?: This book will be published on Tuesday, Oct. 8 and the spoiler review will be posted on Tuesday, Oct. 15. 

Thanks for stopping by!

MG, #MediaGalReads 

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