Friday, April 24, 2015

E&P: Two teen reviews

BASIL (grade 9) says:

Eleanor and Park is a wonderful novel written by the incredibly talented Rainbow Rowell, whose breakthrough first novel broke the expectations of what a first novel is supposed to be. Eleanor and Park’s 325 pages are mesmerizing, entertaining, and are almost perfect due to its clever writing style. The novel shows the viewpoints of both Eleanor and Park and both are equally well thought out, but it does get confusing when one gets so caught up in reading the book. However, the story is so interesting and realistic that the revolving viewpoints only strengthen the underlying story and author’s message. This book is not part of a series but the plot starts and ends perfectly and everything is tied up nicely at the end. I would recommend the reading level to be for grades 8-12.

The protagonists are both awkward and, in the case of Eleanor, unpopular, while Park is quiet and tolerated. But where this novel really shines through is in Rainbow Rowell’s choice of using minorities as the two main characters. Park is a half Korean half Caucasian boy and Eleanor is a chubby, short, red-haired-girl. Making this novel even more special is the way they fell in love.

I closely identified with Park, and at some points I imagined Park as myself. This book’s easy writing allows such relatabilty to occur naturally and without it even being consciously known.

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 rating because it really breaks down the walls of traditional love stories in the best way possible; by being a perfect mix of surprise, romance, and realism.

MARLENA (grade 9) says:

Eleanor and Park is an easy read regarding language, but contextually it may be a little harder since there are some more mature themes presented in this book, including domestic abuse and bullying. It would be classified in the realistic fiction genre relating to romance. I would recommend this book to teens in high school, ninth to twelfth graders. Teens may feel like they can relate well to this book, to the “first love,” but anyone older can definitely read and enjoy it too. Just a fair warning to those younger than 9th grade that the content may be a little overwhelming or too mature.

Eleanor is a pudgy, light-skinned girl with reddish orange curly hair, while Park is a lean medium height Asian with tan skin and a preference for black clothes. These two people seem to be complete polar opposites, so different that you would never think they would end up in a relationship, much less start up a conversation. It all begins on a conventional day on the school bus when Eleanor, the new girl, ended up having to sit next to Park, the only person on the bus who would give up some space on his seat to her, albeit reluctantly. But he doesn't talk to her and she doesn't talk to him. She is different, and the kids judge her on her appearance, a tendency of any person whether they are insecure or not. Their friendship started with a small act of kindness and many days of silence on the bus. Most unexpectedly, they bond over Park’s love for comic books and Eleanor’s interest in reading the stories over his shoulder. Their friendship starts small, but grows into something much bigger, something much sweeter.

Eleanor, though, has a really hard home life, and it isn’t any better at school, where people like to pick on her. Park tries his best to protect her, because with every passing day he becomes so much more infatuated with her, as she does with him. Their love story is one of hardships and sorrow, but also one of joy and thankfulness. Their love is one of the most important, a first love.

This book is without question or argument a five, "hard to imagine a better book." I literally fell in love with this book and the devotion that both Park and Eleanor have for each other. It was so sweet and moving. I smiled and cried throughout this book and I would read it again in a heartbeat. No one’s love story is the same, and Eleanor and Park’s was surely unique.

Editor's note: I'm so pleased people are finding and liking this book! Here's my review, from when the book first came out. And as mentioned there, if you like books about unlikely romance mixed with life's real dramas, try I'll Be There, by Holly Goldberg Sloan.

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