Never Look Back

Acclaimed author Lilliam Rivera blends a touch of magical realism into a timely story about cultural identity, overcoming trauma, and the power of first love.

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 spend the summer on the beach with his friends, serenading his on-again, off-again flame. That changes when he meets Eury. All he wants is to put a smile on her face and fight off her demons. But some dangers are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the world threatens to tear them apart, Eury and Pheus must fight for each other and their lives.

Featuring contemporary Afro-Latinx characters, this retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice is perfect for fans of Ibi Zoboi’s Pride and Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper.


“Defying expectation and categorization, NEVER LOOK BACK is a book not to be read with the mind but to be experienced with the soul. It is a revelation.”

BookPage, Starred Review!

"This book seamlessly blends Caribbean and Greek myth into a contemporary teen novel, exploring realistic aspects of identity, stereotypes, trauma, and romance."

School Library Journal, Starred Review!

“Rivera’s complex world is well realized, and the dialogue rings true.”


"A go-to for any fan of dark mythology."


“[Rivera] showcases her masterful grasp of setting, integrating the complexities of the modern day with the gauzy haze of ancient myth through a slow, careful unveiling.”


"NEVER LOOK BACK sings its own love song to the world"


“Immersive and intense, you’ll want Rivera to retell all your classics.”

Fall 2020 Kid’s Indie Next List

"I am such a huge fan of Lilliam Rivera, and her Orpheus and Eurydice–inspired YA novel set during a blistering summer in New York City is nothing short of a marvel. Here's a writer who constantly pushes the boundaries of the kinds of stories and settings magical Latinx folk can occupy, and she does so so tenderly."

Elizabeth Acevedo, NYT bestselling author

“Haunting and richly detailed, this is a beautiful re-imagining that will hurt and heal, sometimes on the same page.”

Mark Oshiro, Hugo-nominated author of Anger is a Gift

“Rivera knows the cathartic power of retelling mythology for a modern audience is the reclamation of agency, and so Never Look Back becomes a call to rise above the hopelessness of an unjust world. It’s a story imbued with the power to heal.”

City Pages

“An emotionally challenging journey filled with peril and truth-telling. The story is perfect for readers who love a powerful love story masterfully told in the heightened and timeless manner of the Greek gods.”

School Library Connection

"Readers won’t need to know the myth to find this an absorbing supernatural romance, and it may make the classically adept look at the familiar story with fresh eyes."

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"[Rivera] masterfully intertwines ancient and modern lore, leaving readers gasping for breath by the authentic but satisfying conclusion."

Shelf Awareness

"This detailed reimagining of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice mixes contemporary realism with fantasy."

Horn Book Review

“A book so mesmerizing, I was completely pulled into it and had to blink a few times when I finished to reorient myself to my here and now. It’s brave, and beautifully written.”

Bookseller, Bookworks

“Lilliam Rivera’s NEVER LOOK BACK is an own voices, Latinx, Bronx re-imagining of the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus. This fresh perspective breathes new life into the well-known tragedy, transforming the narrative from love story to a layered novel on mental health, true love, and self-confidence. This young adult novel – great for both younger and older teens alike – will have you queuing up Prince’s discography and classic bachatas, all the while reminding you to be grateful for your support system and privileges. Perfect for fans of diverse reads and authentic voices.”

Flyleaf Books

“A tantalizing and rich tale of love and death with musical prose and lyrical prowess. NEVER LOOK BACK hits all the right notes of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and blends them seamlessly together with modern-day culture and magical realism. Riviera takes on trauma, depression, and anxiety with tender care and Eury’s journey brings her firmly into the spotlight where she belongs. This book is everything I wanted to read in 2020.”

Sami Thomason, Square Books

“In this fresh remix, Lilliam Rivera deftly combines original details with contemporary Afro-Latinx life in the Bronx: from the flirty bounce of bachata to the weight of Hurricane Maria and its impact on island communities and diaspora. I love how this character-driven romance humanizes Pheus and Eury—they are accessible, complex teens distinctly of our time who face an ancient and destructive threat with equal parts assuredness and fearful trepidation. A satisfyingly feminist ending rounds out this myth retextured for our modern moment. Immersive and intense, Never Look Back will make you want Lilliam Rivera to retell all of your favorite classics.”

Niki Marion, Third Place Books

“Lilliam Rivera has once again created the freshest characters with a compelling summer-drenched story wrapped in myth and magic in her now trademarked beloved Bronx. You fall as madly in love with Pheus and Eury as they do with each other, while your heart beats double time during their epic journey.”

Angela Maria Spring, Duende District Books

“Sparks fly when Pheus meets Eury, but their love is tested when mystical dangers from Eury’s past rear their ugly head. Lilliam Rivera’s inclusion of her Latinx culture with unique voices brings new life into the strong ancient myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.”

Jen Kraar, City of Asylum Pittsburgh

“In this Bronx retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, two teenagers fight against trauma and depression with music and their love for each other. Eury is haunted by an invisible demon—and by the horror of Hurricane Maria’s destruction of her home. Pheus was planning on a carefree summer of singing and flirting, but when he meets Eury, all he wants to do is help her. With the demon trying to drag Eury down to the underworld (literally), can Pheus and his music help her escape? Smart, lushly-described, and very romantic, this is a contemporary reworking that loses none of the original’s magic while transporting it to a whole new world.”

Lily Tschudi-Campbell, Red Balloon Book Shop

“A revitalized and layered retelling that expertly blends reality and fantasy to explore what’s behind love and loss, what it takes to heal.”

Randy Ribay, author of Patron Saints of Nothing

“NEVER LOOK BACK reimagines the Orpheus myth into a bold creation that only Lilliam Rivera could breathe into life. A strange, unsettling love song of a book.”

Elana K. Arnold, Printz Honor-winning author of Red Hood and Damsel