Eleanor & Park (hardcover)
by Rainbow Rowell
AR Level 3.8, 11 points
This story is told through two perspectives. Sometimes you are seeing what Eleanor sees, and sometimes Park. Eleanor and Park are two socially awkward, misfit juniors in an Oklahoma high school in 1986. Eleanor is new, and has bright orange hair. She’s overweight, dirt poor, and lives with her mom, younger siblings, and an abusive step father. She has no desire to fit in, nor does she have the financial means to. Park, on the other hand, comes from a financially and emotionally stable family. He is biracial (half Korean) and bullied because of his race. Eleanor and Park fall in love over comic books and music. As their relationship grows, you start to remember the person you liked in high school, and what it was like to hold someone’s hand for the first time. I found myself grinning like a dumbass while reading this book (which, by the way, I finished in one day, while ignoring my family and other responsibilities as a wife, mother, and teacher). It was just that good.
What I liked about this book was the raw emotion you feel while reading it. You want to scoot over on the bus for Eleanor, and urge her to find a toothbrush so Park doesn’t smell her breath. You’re also rooting for Park, and in bizarro world, you are attracted to a fictional character. Yes, I said it. It’s weird, but read about this hapa (half Korean, half white) guy, with his martial arts body, black eyeliner, taste in music, and sensitivity to Eleanor’s needs, and tell me it doesn’t cross your mind.
What I didn’t like about this book was the raw emotion you feel while reading it. You are rooting for Eleanor through good and bad, and there is a lot of bad.
I’m thinking I might have to buy or borrow Fangirl, because this book made me a fan of Rainbow Rowell.
Book 12 of 52