Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“He tried to remember how this happened – how she went from someone he’d never met to the only one who mattered.”
― Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
Let me preface this post by saying the first scene has tons of swearing. It takes place in the back of a bus full of teenagers. (Duh! There’s going to be swearing.) But please, please, please don’t stop reading. Trust me — the entire book isn’t full of swear words!!
I almost instantly liked both main characters – Eleanor and Park. Told in their alternating perspective, I enjoyed hearing both sides of their stories and seeing their relationship develop from ambivalence (bordering on disdain), to acceptance, to like and ultimately to first love.
I loved the humor, the emotional rollercoaster the novel takes the reader on and how authentically teen the story was. So authentic, I never felt like I was “reading a book” because the characters were so relatable and three-dimensional. Even the secondary characters. (I swear Park’s mom stole every scene she was in.)
Overwhelmingly, the story captured the Eleanors and the Parks I knew from high school. It’s a timeless story, that although set in 1986, the theme will resonate with today’s teenage reader and fans of young adult literature.
It’s a heartwarming, gut wrenching story of need and want and how sometimes life royally sucks, but it’s also about how love can help you overcome anything.
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