Christine Calella ’18 Publishes New YA Novel, ‘The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray’

Lisa Cochran
April 25, 2024

Writing alumna Christine Calella ’18 has recently published her new novel, The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray, with Page Street YA. 

Ophelia, the novel’s protagonist, is the daughter of an infamous pirate queen and is therefore disparaged by her fellow superstitious townsfolk. After a naval officer saves Ophelia from a rioting crowd at her mother’s hanging, she decides to join the navy.

To do so, Ophelia enlists under the name of her diametrically opposed half-sister, Betsy Young. Betsy is neurotic, prefers to stay home, and just wants to fall in love. When Betsy’s father falls ill, she asks the navy to recall Ophelia, only to expose that Ophelia has used her name to enlist. As a result, Ophelia is persecuted by the navy and Besty must step out of her comfort zone, taking a boat through hurricane season, to bring her sister home. 

On their adventure, Betsy and Ophelia encounter duels, lost treasures, and unexpected romance, proving they may not be so different from their mother after all. 

“A page-turning pirate adventure about sisters finding themselves and each other on the high seas,” says YA writer Leanne Schwartz. “You'll discover a treasure trove of lovable, vibrant characters, vital prose, and gasp-inducing twists.”

“Calella’s action-packed debut manages to combine fairytale and drama with a hint of comedy, drawing upon the best elements of each,” states writer M.K. Lobb. “With a charming voice and a focus on girls who aren’t afraid to be imperfectly messy, this book is a fun, seafaring romp!”

The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray is available for purchase here

Christine Calella lives in New York City. When not writing, she spends her time tending to a string of houseplants named after sitcom characters and drinking “more chai lattes than is strictly necessary.” Calella also writes adult rom-coms under the pen-name Madeline Bell.