Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Eleanor - Jason Gurley

Summary: Eleanor and Esmerelda are identical twins with a secret language all their own, inseparable until a terrible accident claims Esme’s life. Eleanor’s family is left in tatters: her mother retreats inward, seeking comfort in bottles; her father reluctantly abandons ship. Eleanor is forced to grow up more quickly than a child should, and becomes the target of her mother’s growing rage.

Years pass, and Eleanor’s painful reality begins to unravel in strange ways. The first time it happens, she walks through a school doorway, and finds herself in a cornfield, beneath wide blue skies. When she stumbles back into her own world, time has flown by without her. Again and again, against her will, she falls out of her world and into other, stranger ones, leaving behind empty rooms and worried loved ones. 

One fateful day, Eleanor leaps from a cliff and is torn from her world altogether. She meets a mysterious stranger, Mea, who reveals to Eleanor the weight of her family’s loss. To save her broken parents, and rescue herself, Eleanor must learn how deep the well of her mother’s grief and her father’s heartbreak truly goes. Esmerelda’s death was not the only tragic loss in her family’s fragmented history, and unless Eleanor can master her strange new abilities, it may not be the last. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

I received a free copy of this book from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: There’s a lot to be said about this book. First of all, it’s a strange book. It really is. It breaks into different sections and viewpoints, which makes it easier to keep track of, but doesn’t make it any less strange. There’s some weird and funky stuff going on. Almost sci-fi-esque. Now, I am not necessarily a sci-fi reader. My husband mourns the fact that I hate aliens and space. I really hate space. (Who hates space? I know. It’s lame.) This book was not too sci-fi for me. It does have some funky goings on, but because of the way it is organized it makes it palatable and in the end it makes sense. It’s still strange, but it makes sense. I would say it’s more stylized than anything. It’s not one of those weird abstract books where you’re all “What the heck is going on here? I don’t understand a thing.” You can tell what’s going on in the main story, but it does take until the end of the book to figure it all out and even then it’s still a little funky. But fun. A fun funky.

Secondly, this book is well-written. The characters have depth and breadth, which is hard to achieve. They feel like real people. When I look back, I can clearly imagine what they’re like and what their reality is like. I appreciated the writing in this book a lot, actually. I think that’s what made the funkiness okay. It was well-crafted and the story is definitely compelling.

No on to the story. It’s sad. Tragic, really. It is. I mean, the death of a child is horrible and this one in particular ripped the heart and soul out of this poor family and they paid for it for so long. In this the book is very emotional. The writing isn’t raw and gritty, but it is poignant and accessible in a way that helps the reader relate to the characters and to the story. I actually think the cover does a really good job of summing the whole feeling of the book up, actually.

I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It wasn’t so sad that I couldn’t read it a lot (You know those books where it’s so horrible you can barely face reading them? This isn’t one of those.)  But it is one of those books that does a good job of describing things to the point where you understand that the situation is hard and it feels real and tangible.

My Rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader: There is some language in this book, but it is not excessive. It is about the loss of a child and also a severe case of alcoholism, so be aware of those potential triggers.

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