While attending Stokercon in Los Angeles, I picked up ELEANOR by Johnny Worthen at a dealer’s table. I picked it up for the cover but stayed for the premise. Writing a short synopsis is an art in itself, and I showed it to several author friends as an example of very strong back cover copy.
It was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it. She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless.
Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only friend she’d ever had, the only other person who knows her secret, is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless.
Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.
ELEANOR goes deep into the mind of an old creature living in a teenage girl’s body. It’s a slow, character-driven story–not my usual cup of tea, but I found myself pulled along by Eleanor’s challenges and Worthen’s very strong and crisp writing. The premise is terrific–the idea of a girl hiding in plain sight, gifted with amazing abilities but finding them more a curse than a gift, a source of isolation turning a time in life when people feel most isolated and uncertain.