Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
(St. Martin’s Press, 2013, 325 pages)
I loved this book. It received great reviews and I honestly didn’t think it would live up to the hype, but it definitely did (for me). Set in 1986 we are introduced to Eleanor and Park as they are “introduced” to each other. Eleanor has recently moved back in with her mom, stepdad, and siblings after being away for a year. Starting at a new school is never easy, especially when you might happen to have a different look that draws unwanted attention your way. Eleanor’s struggle starts on the bus when she can’t find a seat. Park begrudgingly lets her sit with him and over time the two slowly warm up to one another and the reader experiences the joy, drama, and pain of a first love.
Oh man. Rowell did an amazing job conveying the feelings of what it’s like to be a teenager and have these romantic feelings for the first time. I would randomly find myself smiling as I was reading. That’s not to say the book is all about Eleanor and Park’s relationship… there is definitely a darker storyline within the text that plays a significant role. A quick read, Eleanor & Park is told from their alternating points of view and the chapters aren’t long. This is a young adult book but it will definitely be appealing to adults. A good summer read if you have any teens in your life or just happen to be interested in a book you can fly through and remember the highs (and the lows) of falling in love.