Sunday, April 14, 2013

Eleanor & Park

Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: "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.

Review: I've always harshly judged romance in the books I read; it's always too fast, too unbelievable, too just-written-for-sex-appeal. But for me, Eleanor & Park was different. Wonderfully different. It was sweet, beautiful, and heartbreaking. It didn't take long for Park to fall for Eleanor, but she held back, hesitant to believe in young love. Eleanor struggles with wanting a happy relationship with Park and trying to hide her horrible family life: the abusive step-father, the absent father, the mom and four younger siblings trapped. Park will yell a thousand i-love-yous before Eleanor would whisper one. They're two misfits: Park is half-Korean in a white-majority neighborhood, and Eleanor is the weird fat girl from a broken family. Another thing I enjoyed about this book was how the author treated Eleanor's weight.  It's presented simply as a physical characteristic of Eleanor, not as some hurdle she has to overcome in order to be happy. I loved the third person POV that switched between the two of them because it allowed the reader to observe Eleanor and Park fall in love with each other. 

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