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

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


“[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.”


“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

“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

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

Shelf Awareness