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Eleanor: A Novel by Jason Gurley
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Eleanor: A Novel

by Jason Gurley

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This reminded me of what a really bad 'Star Trek' episode could be. Weird things are happening to Eleanor. After the death of her twin sister Esme (this is really not a spoiler, it's implied on the back cover and it should be part of various reviews), Eleanor must deal with an alcoholic mother who blames her for her sister's death and a father who just couldn't cope anymore. Then...the weird things start happening.
 
I don't want to get more into it because it's somewhat hard to explain. But let's just say that if you're familiar with 'Star Trek' and with science fiction in general, it's not an unusual premise in some ways, including the very end and how things are resolved.
 
This was a disappointment. It was released this week (and I was lucky enough that my library managed to get a copy to me ASAP!) with hype and reviews. Since it was so readily available by sheer dumb luck I decided to give it a shot. But it's a pretty weird read. The author IS a very good author. The initial set up was interesting, the relationship between Eleanor (there are two, the grandmother who opens the book and the granddaughter who is the protagonist, I'll be referring to the granddaughter) and her mother, Agnes was painful to read.
 
The entire family dynamic was interesting. When it starts getting into the magical realism/science fiction-ish (maybe not quite)/paranormal elements the book really falls down. I ended up skimming a lot the passages that dealt with certain characters/plot devices because too much time/space was dedicated to them. I did not mind the alternating viewpoints between various views (characters and...other elements) here, as the author is talented enough to make it work. But the magical realism got to be a little too much. I could also guess the identity of character of "Mea" surprisingly early (and I was right, which actually disappointed me since it seemed so cliche).
 
That said, I think the author focused a bit too much at the sacrifice for character development. I wanted to know more about Hob, Eleanor's grandfather. Or Jack, her best friend/boyfriend/etc. I wanted to spend more time with the first Eleanor and/or younger Agnes. I didn't care about Mea all that much (even when the identity was confirmed), wanted to get away from the supernatural elements.
 
Another review elsewhere said it was two novels squished into one and I agree with that assessment. It should have been either two separate books or a much longer tome. I would recommend borrowing it from the library or a bargain buy when it becomes available. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
At first, I found this novel to be a tad bit slow. It kept flitting between different times and places and I didn't really understand what was going on. But pushing through was worth it. A good deal of the story was full of sadness, as the author establishes the effects of the tragedy of Esmeralda's death. However, the story truly picks up when Eleanor keeps getting removed from her world and put somewhere else. I loved the journey that the story took me on and when everything was revealed, the pieces fit together beautifully. This novel is deep and definitely makes you think about what could happen if just one thing in life was changed. I really really hope you will give this novel a chance to win your heart, because I am CONFIDENT that it will! ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
Will review as soon as possible. ^_^



*I received a free copy of Eleanor from Goodreads First Reads.* ( )
  Trisarey | Aug 7, 2017 |
Reaffirms the ways in which one life affects another.

Eleanor is the story of one woman's choice and its ripple effects across the lives of her descendants. Young Eleanor’s mission, looking back through her life to find the ONE spontaneous decision that changed the lives of everyone in her family, will resonate with anyone who ever wished for a do-over.

Steeped in gritty reality - depression, alcoholism, and suicide - Eleanor propels itself into “MIND BLOWN!” territory with its use of time, dream worlds, and the afterlife. Gurley’s version of these concepts is reminiscent of books like What Dreams May Come or Einstein's Dreams, while still being its own unique, heartfelt, mystical story. Highly recommended!

4.5 stars (full review over at Unleash the Flying Monkeys!)

Received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

4.5 stars ( )
  flying_monkeys | Mar 31, 2017 |
If you love books that take you to worlds unparalleled, this is the one for you. The story is saddening and frustrating, but only because you find yourself invested in such a weirdly, beautiful story. You become engrossed and want things to occur in a particular manner, but when it doesn't, you ache for the main character, Eleanor. This story, Eleanor by Jason Gurley, is heart-wrenching...

Eleanor is the story of five people and two entities. All of them come together, converging around one girl who's half of herself. A Twin. Eleanor, is the surviving sister of an accident and she's broken. Her twin, Esme, the dead twin and Eleanor's other half, is trapped... someplace else. All she wants is to get home, but can she? Can Eleanor help her get there? And who is with her while she tries to break through to the other side?

I have to be careful how I speak of this story ( you know how I feel about SPOILERS). The tale is temperamental and distressing because so much is happening (all related to death) and you can see the train-wreck coming!. Its neglectful, depressing and so unhappy, but there's also hope. Lying just beneath a sheer film of disaster, you know there's a chance this can all be repaired and end on a happy note. I appreciated the enormous weight of grief from the parents as well as Eleanor, but I wanted them to find some closure. If you can fight through the sadness of the journey, you will appreciate this novel..

The tears on the cover are a true sign of what's to come, but I didn't cry. I wasn't that attached, but I was caught up enough to feel lost within within the mystery of the story, It's worth a read but understand, there will be a lot of strangeness and emotions going on. I'm moving off to the next read.📚​

The Full Review: http://bit.ly/EleanorNovel
Rating: 3 out of 5 specs
*The Goblin Crown is next.
**Novel available through Crown Publishing. ( )
  AReneeHunt | Nov 14, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Time is a river, and it flows in a circle. - Unknown
Dedication
For Felicia and Emma--all the muches
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She sits in the breakfast nook and watches the rain.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.… (more)

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