I can only think of one word to describe Eleanor & Park: Amazeballs! Fans of authors such as John Green and Laurie Halse Anderson will simply adore this novel by Rainbow Rowell. This book is extremely raw and kept me engrossed from the start…I simply couldn’t put it down.
Everyone has/is/will experience the traumatic hell that is high school. It is no different in the late 1980s for Eleanor and Park, but they find that through each other they can persevere.
Eleanor is definitely not your average skinny and hip teenager. Being a chunky girl with an insurmountable mop of curly red hair is bad enough, but add to it only having ratty old hand-me-downs and Good Will clothes to wear and you have yourself a target for relentless high school mocking.
Half-Korean, green-eyed, Park doesn’t get picked on, but he doesn’t fit in with the popular crowd either. He gets through his days floating just under the radar. When Park first sees Eleanor on the bus, he avoids her just like everybody else. But unlike his peers, the more Park observes Eleanor, the more intrigued he becomes.
Eventually, Park finds himself sharing his comic books with Eleanor, and overtime, even making mixed tapes for her to listen to (it’s the ‘80s people). While Park lives in the shadow of his tall and athletic younger brother at home, he soon discovers that he is treated like royalty in comparison to Eleanor’s home life.
Emotionally unrefined and still somehow sardonically funny, these two quirky teens are sure to capture your heart and make you remember the hardships of young adulthood, and the intense thrill of first love. You simply HAVE to read this book! I give it Five stars, for sure.
“Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.”—John Green, The New York Times Book Review
Amazing Quotes to behold:
“And then there was Ol’ Green Eyes. Whom she was apparently going to tell her whole life story to. Maybe on the way home, she’d tell him that she didn’t have a phone or a washing machine or a toothbrush. That last thing, she was thinking about telling her counselor.”
“Park’s eyes got wide. Well, sort of wide. Sometimes she wondered if the shape of his eyes affected how he saw things. That was probably the most racist question of all time.”
“All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”
“Eleanor pressed her cheek into his chest, and Park hugged her. He wished that they could go through life like this. That he could physically put himself between Eleanor and the world.”
“He tried again to remember what he’d thought the first time he saw her. He tried to remember how this had happened—how she went from someone he’d never met to the only one who mattered.”