Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Two misfits. One extraordinary love. Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor. Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
I haven’t enjoyed a story so much in a while! I’ve held off reading Eleanor & Park for a while, not sure if it was something that was really up my alley. But I loved it. I found this book to be so open and honest. It doesn’t try to hide and it doesn’t run from tough topics. It confronts difficulty head on, and that makes it tough to take sometimes, but brings the characters to life. I feel like this is a story that so many different teens and readers can relate to. It approaches unlikely friendships, broken families, abuse, bullying, love, self-discovery, self-esteem, and so much more.
It’s a story about love that’s true and pure. The kind of love that you drop everything for. A life-saving love. Park saves Eleanor’s life in so many ways, and Eleanor brings Park nothing but joy. Their relationship is unconditional and stems from the most unlikeliest of meetings. Eleanor is trapped in her life, the same way her mother is trapped, and her siblings too. She’s only just in high school and she faces the wrath of her step-father, the abandonment of her father, the relentless teasing of the kids at her new school. But she makes the best of it. Her friendship with Park blossoms into something more–although she can’t quite believe it–but their relationship teachers her how to love both herself and others. Park shows her that she is deserving of love and kindness and helps show her that there is so much more to the world. She learns to help herself and to take control, as scary as that unknown is.
I was instantly hooked on this story. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too! How did you enjoy this read? Did it affect you in any way? How do you feel it compares to other YA?