A Song for Ella Grey

Controversial winner of the Guardian Prize for children's literature in 2015, David Almond's A Song for Ella Grey may not be suitable for twelve year olds (some twelve year olds, anyway), but it is a beautiful, deep and lyrical book, a re-telling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, transplanted to the north of England. Told through the voice of Ella's loving best friend Claire, a group of seventeen year old friends explore love and music and art and friendship, tasting the fullness of adult life, pushing the boundaries of being young and carefree. Except that the joys of adult life are shadowed by darkness...

This is such a beautiful book, told in short, poetic chapters. I so wish my book group had chosen this title as our Music-themed YA novel for this month instead of The Sky is Everywhere; it is an infinitely better book in every way. Alas, I fear that while The Sky is Everywhere is in danger of being read to death, few teens will pick up Ella Grey, which is a terrible shame. In its pages I saw reflected the intense yet loose adolescent friendship group of my 15 year old daughter: their hunger for life, their delight in each other, their adventurousness, their sharp edges, and their tenderness with each other.

A children's book? Maybe not. But a book for kids who are ready/not-ready to grow up.

No comments:

Post a Comment