A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond
  

A Song for Ella Grey

Written by David Almond

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Winner of the 2015 Guardian Children's Book prize -Winner of the 2015 Peters Book of the Year 'Teen Fiction' Award Award-winning David Almond is at his lyrical best in this eloquent, tender and ultimately devastating contemporary teenage love story which draws lightly but to great effect on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Camping on a beach near home as a break from school and its pressures, a group of teenagers, minus their friend Ella, come across Orpheus, a wandering musician. No one knows where he comes from or whether he will appear again but his music is so special that Claire plays it down the phone to Ella. And Ella is entranced. But who is Orpheus? The power of love and the terrible danger it can pose drives this exceptionally touching and thoughtful story. ~ Julia Eccleshare

Guardian Children's Book prize Judge and author Jenny Valentine described the book as “an absolute masterclass in the transformative power of language. It is fearless, free and full of wonder and I am changed by reading it.” Fellow judge Natasha Farrant said that reading the story of Ella Grey “hasn’t just changed the way I look at Orpheus. It has changed the way I look at the world.”

“It’s a real honour to win it at last,” said Almond after hearing of his victory. “It’s made very special by the fact that it’s judged by my fellow authors.”

Describing the myth, one of the most frequently reworked tales, as a challenge and inspiration to any artist, Almond said that he found himself almost haunted by the character as he wrote: “At times, I even sensed Orpheus himself in my writing room. I sensed him on stage when I went to listen to music; I felt how he responded to what was being played, leaping with delight, or turning away in disappointment.”

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Synopsis

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

I'm the one who's left behind. I'm the one to tell the tale. I knew them both...knew how they lived and how they died. Claire is Ella Grey's best friend. She's there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story - as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.

Reviews

Infused with lyricism and with the fire and oddness of adolescence. Fresh, involving and lucid, it is a song in itself, and teens will find it fills them with poignant longing and joy. The Daily Telegraph

A desperately romantic and deeply lyrical re-imagining of Orpheus and Eurydice... David Almond at his best. * * * * * Bookbag

Passages of magic. Financial Times

Beautifully written... poetic and allusive. Irish Times

Spell-binding... impossible to resist... breathless, intoxicating prose. [Almond's] books seem to exist in their own otherworldly universe, outside all the trends in modern publishing, yet resolutely of the now. The Glasgow Herald

Lyrical and dreamlike, this beautifully written story conjures up the insane intensity of first love and the effect it has on those caught up in its slipstream. Authentic teenage characters and attitudes, and Almond's control of emotion is superb. Daily Mail

Almond's writing is superb. Irish Daily Mail

A ravishing, ingenious novel told in Almond's own hypnotic northern lilt. The Scotsman

A retelling of the myth of Orpheus... Almond's version is a revelation: his poetic prose seeps into your blood like word-venom until you can't imagine reading anything else (Children's Book of the Week) The Times

a strong sense of mystery...lyrical... poetic...moves in a deliberate dreamlike way. A beautiful book that works on several levels A triumph. Marcus Sedgwick The Guardian

Intriguing adaptation of the tale of Orpheus, skilfully crafted and blended with modern teen life and a real flavour of Northumberland. Haunting. Peters eGazette

Almond is an incredibly powerful storyteller. Poetic... dreamlike and lyrical. A devastatingly poignant novel. Newcastle Chronicle

A desperately romantic and deeply lyrical re-imagining of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Full of the hums and thrums of emotions, landscape, music and poetry, it's David Almond at his best. The Bookbag

Bliddy marvellous, as his Geordie protagonists would say. The Independent on Sunday

A masterly retelling of the Orpheus myth. Lyrical prose is matched with equally beautiful passages. Financial Times

About the Author

David Almond

David Almond was our Guest Editor in September 2011 CLICK HERE to see his choices.

David Almond is the acclaimed author of many award-winning novels for children such as Skellig, Kit's Wilderness and My Name Is Mina, and has collaborated with artists Polly Dunbar, Dave McKean and Oliver Jeffers on fiction for younger readers. David's books sell all over the world, and in 2011 he was the recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award. He lives in Hexham, Northumberland.

Click here to read more information about the author.

Julia Eccleshare on David Almond:

One of the best-loved and finest writers of today, David Almond made an immediate impact with Skellig, his first book. The moving story of a boy’s discovery of a strange creature in the shed which can be interpreted in many ways introduced some to the recurrent themes of David Almond’s writing. Infused with a touch of magic or the supernatural or ‘belief’, David Almond writes sensitively about the inner complexities of growing up. Much influenced by the landscape of Tyneside where he was brought up and still lives, David Almond’s books have a strong sense of place especially in titles such as Heaven’s Eyes, The Fire-Eater and Kit’s Wilderness. Although often clearly set in some particular time, there is a timeless quality to David Almond’s stories which give them enduring appeal.

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
288 pages

Author

David Almond
More books by David Almond

Author's Website

www.davidalmond.com/

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Publisher

Hodder Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group

Publication date

4th June 2015

ISBN

9781444922134

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