When I was a teenager, I used to go with my friends to the beaches of Bamburgh and Beadnell. We’d camp in the dunes, have parties on the beach. We’d swim in the icy sea, watch seals, terns, oystercatchers. We’d sit by blazing fires as the beams of lighthouses swept across us and the astonishing stars glittered above. We’d talk of love, death, football, Tamla Motown, Allen Ginsberg, God, ghosts, grief. We’d talk of where we’d go, what we’d do, how we hoped we’d live. We went back to our ordinary lives on Tyneside: school, exams, families, council houses. Not so different, perhaps, from the lives of the young people in my book. They live by the Tyne. They are sixth formers in a comprehensive. They love music and each other. They yearn for joy and freedom. They travel north and have parties on the beach. They try to turn Northumberland into Greece. They try to think that the sun is warm and the sea is not icy. They sing and dance with abandon. Orpheus appears among them one morning as the sun rises over the sea, and he begins to sing them into a new understanding of themselves. Eurydice is Ella Grey, a girl who is not even there when he first appears. She hears his voice through the mobile phone of her best friend, Claire. It is enough: she knows she has always known him and he has always known her. The ancient love is recreated and so it all begins again. Claire is the narrator. She is also in love with Ella Grey. She watches, recounts, tries to share her friend’s joy and calm her own fears. But she can do nothing to stem the trajectory of the ancient, lovely, terrible tale.