Book Review: Eleanor: The Unseen by Johnny Worthen

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EleanorTitle: Eleanor: The Unseen (Book #1)
Author: Johnny Worthen
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Published:  June 2014
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Rating: 9.5/10

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.

I’ve been sitting pretty, patiently waiting to put my review up of Eleanor: The Unseen by Johnny Worthen, which in short is a remarkable piece of work that keeps you wanting more. No kidding, I’ve already tried to get the next two books out of him just to see what happens with sweet-but-deadly little Eleanor. Unfortunately the man’s made of stone, so poor old me will have to wait like the rest of the masses. But I digress. You see, Eleanor: The Unseen is a shifter book, but don’t worry it doesn’t have werewolves in it. Nope, we’re talking skinwalkers, folks … real Native American awesomeness. Oh, and then we also have the day-to-day ‘high school sucks’ thing to enjoy. It’s fun, it’s gory, it’s got an array of mythology and touches a variety of subjects, and honestly it’s one of the most memorable books I’ve read this year.

I reviewed Johnny Worthen’s debut novel, Beatrysel, last year [read review here] and I was worried that Eleanor: The Unseen wouldn’t be as good. I mean, it’s sometimes difficult for writers to transition from one genre to another as seamlessly as Worthen’s capable of. However, this book is really good. It’ll keep you glued to your seat from beginning to end and then (if you’re anything like me), you’ll start hounding the author for the other books in the trilogy … Like I said, my efforts didn’t pay off, but hopefully it won’t take too long for the next book to be released.

So, is it worthy of a read? Well, the man’s name is Worthen, so yes . Yes Eleanor: The Unseen is worthen of a read (see what I did there? It’s Worthen a Read! Oh, man I crack myself up). It’s filled with all kinds of awesome and you know what’s really great? Eleanor is not some silly little girl, she’s real, which makes her the type of character that girls can relate to (shifting aside). David’s wonderful too, he’s just such a good person …

Worthen captures emotion in words, which is a difficult feat for authors.

Okay, I’ll stop rambling now, but seriously, it’s a must-read if ever there was one.

  • Eustice Seeney

    What’s a “shifter” book. Everyplace I look somebody’ hawk in’ their book. What makes this book stand out? No foolin’–I really want to know.

    • TentacleBooks

      Well, a shifter book includes shape-shifters into the plots. Werewolves are commonly used in shifter books, but this one uses skinwalkers instead. This book stands out, because the story is much more complex than your average young adult novel and it’s beautifully written. Also, the female protagonist is a well-rounded character. Does that help? :)