Publisher summary (from Penguin Random House):
When a terrible accident claims the life of Eleanor’s twin, her family
is left in tatters, and her reality begins to unravel, dropping her in
and out of unfamiliar worlds. When she returns to her own time and place,
hours and days have flown by without her. One fateful day, Eleanor leaps
from a cliff…and vanishes. In a strange in-between place, she meets a
mysterious stranger who understands the weight of her family history:
Eleanor’s twin wasn’t the only tragic loss. And unless Eleanor can
master her strange new abilities, she may not be the last.
I finished this novel almost a month ago, but already had a moment where something I read in another book triggered a memory of a scene in this book, and it took me a moment to track down the connection. There are parts of the writing in this novel that are so vivid, and so unusual, that they tuck themselves away, waiting for another moment to come to mind!
The fantastical elements of this novel don't really start until around
page 80, but really they are what make it a special read. Up until then, it is
more of a novel of a family and the loss of a child, but then it morphs and shifts into a much more engaging story
of the afterlife and twin connections, grief and healing, and the power
The writing of these other worlds, other presences,
is descriptive and beautiful. The real world is logically sad and
difficult for Eleanor.
Set in the dreary northwest, specifically
the Oregon coast, I was surprised at the amount of ocean swimming the
characters did. I grew up in Oregon an hour from the ocean and we were
told NEVER to swim in it, the dangerous rip tides/currents being
ever-present. Also the water is freezing cold all of the time. So I kept
being pulled out of the novel to wonder if there are people out there
swimming along the Oregon coast - but surely they aren't rowing out from
the shore - the waves are pretty dramatic. The author lives in Oregon
now; what does he know that I do not? I just can't reconcile it. Surely
the coast is not so different from 15 years ago. This is just a little
complaint from a longtime Oregonian.
This is the novel that The Lovely Bones
wished it was. Not exactly the same premise but the story as a whole
seems better connected and more realistic despite the fantastical
I was provided this book through Blogging for
Books, who got it from the publisher.