Review Blog

Feb 03 2016

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

cover image

Harper Collins, 2015. ISBN: 9780008132910
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Sitting somewhere between the realms of science fiction and fantasy, Gurley's novel is certainly captivating. The prosaic style of the work draws attention to both its literary value and its story value, giving it a sense of overall tranquillity despite the terrifying circumstances that main character, Eleanor, finds herself in.
Eleanor's childhood ends the day she loses her twin in a car accident. Her parents begin fighting and eventually they separate leaving her mother, Agnes thrown back into the depression of her childhood. Eleanor stays with her hateful mother in order to take care of her, never drawing unnecessary attention or causing trouble. . . until she disappears. Walking through the cafeteria doors she falls into a dream world where she and her friend Jack are still children, playing in a field in Iowa. When the dream ends however, she finds herself back at school, after hours and locked in. It is the first time this has happened and it certainly won't be the last. She slowly realises that she has become the plaything of her twin beyond the grave who now goes by the name of Mae. Eleanor's disappearances become more frequent and she loses more and more time until finally her disappearance is noticed. She becomes a missing person (for lack of a body) landing Jack, her best friend, in a police investigation and leaving her mother who has just been diagnosed with cancer in her father's grudging care. Can the actions of Eleanor and her dead twin save their parents from their unhappiness? Only time can tell - but what time?
A novel thoroughly enjoyed, I would highly recommend for lovers of soft science fiction and fantasy fourteen and older. Gurley deals with themes of grief, regret and loneliness, allowing for a touchstone into reality despite its sci-fi qualities.
Kayla Gaskell (Age twenty)

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