Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
This book took my heart on a roller coaster ride. It was soaring higher and higher, but I know there’d be a drop at some point. Even though I knew the bad was coming, every page was filled with a simple sweetness that had me smiling like a giddy schoolgirl experiencing her first crush for the first time.
Eleanor stands out. She’s got bright red hair, wears a strange collection of clothing, and isn’t the skinny girl everyone else is. Park is just on the edge of being part of the “cool crowd.” When Park grudgingly lets Eleanor share his school bus seat, neither of them have any idea of the friendship nor relationship they are about to begin. Park doesn’t really like Eleanor to begin with, but after he catches her reading his comics, a friendship starts up. From there, things just continue to grow until they’re experiencing their first taste of young, teen love. It’s simple, sweet, and perfect.
Eleanor doesn’t have the best home life, but I loved how she didn’t let that get her too down. It affected her attitude, but it didn’t bring her down. She still faced every day with determination, and after Park became her boyfriend, happiness. She’s incredibly strong, in that she doesn’t give up even though it would be so easy for her to say that getting out of bed wasn’t worth trying.
Park knows the group of cool kids, and calls himself friends with them, but he’s not really a part of their life. He’s just on the outside, but not enough for it to affect his high school credibility. He worries about what others think of him and that affects his relationship with Eleanor. Even so, they are able to work through it and come out stronger for it. He has so many sweet little moments throughout the book that I lost track of them all.
There were so many little hints as to what would be happening to Eleanor and Park that I knew when everything came out, it would hurt. It wasn’t difficult to figure out where the problem would come from, but when everything finally came out, my heart just seized up. It was sudden and horrible, but even in the midst of all the bad, Park remained his sweet and steady self, and I think that’s what made it hurt even more.
Eleanor & Park is one of those books that makes you as happy as it does crushes your heart. Even so, you can’t help but fall in love with Eleanor, Park, and their young love. It will leave you twitterpated. I’m looking forward to reading more from Rowell, especially if it gives me the flutters Eleanor & Park gave me.