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 16.
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, this 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.
Kaley - 4 Star
I have to admit something: I had no idea what Eleanor and Park was about when I started reading it. And you know what? I think that worked out for the best. Rainbow Rowell’s novel features teenagers and, as it’s been a few years since I’ve been one myself, I don’t normally read about teens. If I had known that the protagonists were only sixteen I’m not sure I would have picked up this book and then I would have missed out on a really good novel.
I was immediately drawn into the world of Eleanor and Park. Do you remember when you were sixteen and all that mattered were who you had a crush on and making it through the school day unscathed? I’m pretty happy to say that I had a normal and, dare I say it, enjoyable high school experience. I’m glad to be out of there, of course, but I never had the issues Eleanor has. She is constantly picked on because she doesn’t wear the right clothes, because she’s a little bigger than the other girls, and because she’s just kind of…weird. I really felt for her and I wanted to be her big sister so I could take care of her and get her out of a hellish family situation. Park is a kid who isn’t exactly “cool” but he tolerates the popular kids and, in return, they never give him any trouble. Then Eleanor comes along and he has to make a choice – be with the girl he likes or deal with teasing from his classmates?
The other thing I really enjoyed about this novel, other than the engaging story between the teens, was the time it was set it. The book took place in 1986 and it is peppered with many references to eighties music. It was really neat to read about how Eleanor and Park bonded over certain artists and how she couldn’t stand the screaming punk that he became interested in. As someone who didn’t come into the world until the following year (go ahead, do the math and decide if I’m old or just a kid), I really liked the fact that the book was set in the past. I think it makes this novel stand out among others and adds a certain flavor to it that was really enjoyable.
For me, Eleanor & Park falls into the category “Young Adult books that everyone should read.” Rainbow Rowell did a wonderful job of capturing the emotions of the title teens and wrote a really enjoyable novel. I think everyone, no matter their age, can connect with both Eleanor and Park. I definitely recommend this one.
Thank you to St Martin Press for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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