Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Maturity Level: 5
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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.
Wow. Just … wow.
Eleanor & Park was one of those books I picked up literally every time I went to the bookstore, but couldn’t bring myself to buy in hardback. I kept saying to myself, it has to come out in paperback EVENTUALLY. Which, of course, due to its wild popularity, it never did. So after several years of this I finally bought the collectors edition with a gift card.
So by then I was coming into Eleanor & Park with a lot of expectations, certain that it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. But I was completely blown away. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is flawless. She perfectly captures all that beautiful and terrible in life, and how that you somehow can’t have one without the other. This story epitomizes what it means to be a teenager while also being somehow beyond belief. I loved the complexity of every single character, and how realistically they were portrayed. While it was often terribly difficult to read, I found that I couldn’t put it down.
Though it’s a love story, Eleanor & Park is really about how you can never really know what someone is like just by looking.
This book left me brokenhearted and yearning for more.