A passionate, unpredictable, and idealistic artist–who happens to be a bodiless being from the stars–appears in fifteen-year-old painter Elinor’s room one night. Circe offers love, romance, hundreds of years of life, and the understanding Elinor has never gotten anywhere else. Even though, if Elinor says yes, she will be the Circe’s pet, the enticing offer is too good to pass up. In this retelling of Norwegian fairy tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” the being says,
“Do you know
the ice bear? I am she. Another girl
might go east of the sun and west of the moon
for me. Will you, someday?”
Elinor knows she should accept her boring life, embrace her imperfect but kind family, and refuse to take the easy way out of the problems she never knew she had until meeting her “ice bear.” She knows she shouldn’t say yes, but she can’t say no.
When the being alters her mind without her permission, though, she must decide whether to stay and finds that there is no easy answer.
Pet is about autonomy and boundaries and comes out–well, maybe a little more ambivalent about both of those things than we’re “supposed” to feel. It touches on issues of depression and sexuality–Elinor thinks she is straight but still finds herself wildly in love with Circe, who prefers to manifest as a woman.
But let’s let Elinor speak for herself. Check out some outtakes from Pet, my novel in verse–poems Elinor wrote before meeting Circe:
I have working plans for additional edgy verse paranormals involving beings like Circe. One being, an exhausted, entrapped ex-god, will find Salvation in the form of shy, kind seventeen-year-old pianist Ruth. Another, a mindless abuser, will choose cheerleader, crafter, and loving big sister Cameron to be the next Toy. Cameron’s tormentor will be punished by being forced into a human body, where they’ll find themselves the troubled, genderqueer Beast to an unconventional Beauty: sixteen-year-old Lizzie, disaffected obsessive-compulsive social activist. Finally, a zealously altruistic being with a strange past will find a Disciple in sixteen-year-old Hildy, who’s on the edge of losing both her faith and her mind.