About a Girl – Sarah McCarry

The final book in the Metamorphoses trilogy follows Tally, Aurora’s daughter, abandoned by her and raised by the narrator from All Our Pretty Songs and the narrator’s friends.

Spoilers for the series ending:

Aspiring astronomer Tally runs off to the West Coast to find out who her father is, and instead finds out her mother’s dark fate. She’s also running away from the awkward situation of having slept with her best friend Shane, and finds a very different romantic relationship with a girl called Maddy, who may just be an immortal Medea.

There were several things I didn’t like about this book. First and foremost, the consequences of Maddy being Medea felt tame. This is the woman who murdered her own children to get back at someone whom she had loved and been betrayed by– there wasn’t sufficient horror, sufficient danger; sufficient tension. Yeah, Medea has mellowed into Maddy and is trying to forget her past– but that past doesn’t catch up with her enough. There isn’t enough consequence to such a momentous revelation.

Secondly, because Tally spends a lot of the book not able to remember her goals due to magical interference, the book got kind of frustrating as I waited for her to remember to ask the questions I wanted answers to. The forgetfulness also made Tally a bit of a passive character, pushed around by forces beyond her control.

There were also little things– I didn’t believe that a girl who was mixed like me (in Tally’s case actually 3/4ths white) would think of “white people” as an outside group to be thought of disparagingly. But that’s just my personal experience, and I know some people will disagree. Also I lost a bit of sympathy for Tally, of all silly things, because she disdains Harry Potter but calls Aurora’s friend and her guardian “Aunt Beast” after A Wrinkle in Time. Now there’s nothing wrong with A Wrinkle in Time, but in my opinion, it gets too much attention compared to L’Engle’s other and better books. I’m a The Young Unicorns girl myself.

On the good side, there were absolutely consequences to the events of the previous books, and redemption alongside them. Maia and Cass regain their friendship (and more? we don’t know) and live together, though Maia is forever changed by her long period of drug abuse. The narrator of All Our Pretty Songs and her ex-boyfriend also get, thanks to Tally, a second chance, but Aurora remains trapped in the underworld– largely because she sacrificed any chance of escape to get Tally out.

We also get some resolution for the character of Minos, the judge of the dead– Mr. M in this book. I won’t spoil this, but he remains a tragic figure.

I’m glad I read this book to find out what happened, but it’s not my favorite of the series.


All Our Pretty Songs – Sarah McCarry

Aurora and the nameless narrator are best friends who love each other wholly and completely. They’re of different races (one mixed, one white) and classes (one rich, one poor) but they’re like sisters. The narrator would do anything for Aurora, whose father, a famous rocker, died when she was young and whose mother is an addict.

Things go wrong when, attracted by the narrator’s boyfriend’s musical talent and Aurora’s beauty, the god of the underworld starts to take an interest. Will the narrator be able to save Aurora, or will they suffer the fate of Orpheus and Eurydice?


I had a few complaints about the novel. One was the occasionally overwrought prose, endless streams of metaphor describing music and kisses, reaching for poetic and failing through sheer quantity. Another was that it took a while for the urban fantasy/Greek mythology plot to get underway. But once it does, oh boy is it good.

I highly recommend this book, mainly for the narrator’s journey to the underworld, which is pitch-perfect. It’s also got great depictions of art and of friendship, friendship being the heart of the story. The truth is, sometimes the person you love most has something that matters to them more than you do, and you have to let them go. At the same time, the author offers a warning against letting go unnecessarily in the depiction of the mothers’ friendship, which has disintegrated but is revived. So there’s a nice level of complexity.

This is a sad book, fair warning. But it’s lovely, too. Here’s one of the less overwrought, more beautiful quotes:

“That is the story of you, Aurora: You are always waiting until tomorrow to be sad. You’re a fairy princess beaming at me, remaking the world in your image. Wiping away everything that hurts. But someday everything that hurts will come back and kill you. Your face, your wide dark eyes, your white hair, the skin I know as well as I know my own. “Okay,” I say. “For you, tonight, I will be happy.””

This is a the first of a trilogy, but the other books feature different protagonists. I’ve already bought book two, Dirty Wings, and will definitely be reading it.