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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

325 pages, YA Contemporary Fiction
My rating: 5 stars


"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under

My 2 cents

I loved this amazing story on first love. I haven't seen a negative review yet on the book, which is saying a lot! All of my blogger friends love it, and I would venture anyone who likes YA contemporary romance will too!

This is a dual POV story taking place in 1986 between Eleanor and Park. Eleanor is the new kid in school, and on her first day is shunned on the bus, and can't find a seat. Park wants nothing to do with her, but he's not a mean kid, so he lets her sit next to him. And so begins one of the best teen romances I've ever had the pleasure of reading!

Why was it so good? I couldn't really tell you, but I think it mostly had to do with the fact that this is as far from instant love as you can get. Their romance happens more organically. It takes them weeks before they even talk to each other. They spend an hour on a bus together a day and basically ignore each other. Eleanor starts reading Park's comics over his shoulder, and he notices. Pretty soon, he's lending them to her, and making mixed tapes for her. Its really pretty awesome!

The best thing about this book was it felt so real. Eleanor is the chubby newbie kid with uncontrollable curly red hair, hand-me-downs mens clothes, and a little bit mean at times. She's been given a hard road, living with her mother, her evil stepdad, and 4 younger brothers and sisters. They are very poor, and live in a 2 bedroom house, and Eleanor shares one of those bedrooms with all her siblings ranging from ages 2-11. Her home life is pretty scary, and school isn't much easier for her, with all the popular girls ganging up on her.

Park, meanwhile is a quiet and smart Asian kid who really flies under the radar. He has "friends" in the popular group, but he doesn't really like them. He puts up with them, though, because he doesn't want them to turn on him. Its because of this that originally he wants nothing to do with Eleanor. He changes dramatically through the book, and I loved watching him start to grow up a little. 

I knew as I was reading, that something bad was going to happen. Things were going so well for Eleanor and Park, as they tried to hold onto this romance and at the same time, hide it from Eleanor's family. So the ending didn't really surprise me, and I was happy it didn't get too dramatic. I thought of this book as a cross between light and funny Anna and the French Kiss, or Lola and the Boy Next Door, and dark and troubled Pushing the Limits. This was a great story, and I enjoyed it so much!

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