Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell
Realism / romance
Reading Level: High School (mature subject matter)
The year is 1986, the school year has just begun, and both Eleanor and Park couldn’t be more stressed. Near the bottom of the social ladder, Park tries very hard to remain unseen and unheard. Eleanor, upon arriving on the first day of school, is immediately put on the chopping block and thrown to rock bottom. With her flashy clothes and insane, red, very curly hair, the kids in their high school find no limit of things they could tease her for. In the beginning, Park and Eleanor are wary of each other. Forced to sit next to one another on the bus, they form a strong friendship. Soon after, they realize the depth of their feelings for one another. However, when other people in their lives find out about their relationship, they become plagued with insults and rejection. But at least they have each other, right?
On a scale of 1-5 I would give this book a 4. I loved how relateable it was. I found the characters easy to connect and sympathize with. There are a multitude of allusions and references to other books and fantastic music and movies, which made the characters even more lovable! What I love most about this book is that, unlike other YA romance novels, the characters are not consumed by the relationship. Even whilst dating, they both have things that make them people rather than just defining their entire lives by the relationship. The only reason it’s not a 5 is because I feel that the writing style could be improved.
I feel like this book would be fantastic for someone who is lovesick, and a hardcore romantic. It would also be great for geeks anywhere due to the allusions. But, this book does contain some mature subject matter, and if you cannot handle reading about domestic abuse then please do not read this book.
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