Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: February 26th, 2013
St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Raincoast Books
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

“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.

Eleanor couldn’t blend in the background no matter how hard she tries. Her defiant, fiery red hair and her mismatch of Goodwill clothes was like a red flag to a bull in the streets of Pamplona. So on her first day back from eviction, the kids in the school bus wouldn’t even offer her a seat…except for the kid who defies all social dictates.

Park couldn’t help giving up the empty seat to the girl dressed like a junk drawer. Growing up in a home of affectionate parents, he was raised to be kinder than most kids. So when the girl with the bright red hair and even brighter clothes starts becoming a permanent fixture on his commute to school, he went from grudging interest, to honest-to-goodness curiosity.

Comic books and music would be the bridge that brings these kids together.
Friendship, then love would keep them bonded.
But like any other love stories, theirs was not perfect.
Did they walk into the sunset hand-in-hand?
You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I cannot wait until this book comes out. I just want to keep rereading it until I get my fill. I only had an epub so I had to suffer reading it off my computer. Let me tell you, despite the heartbreaking week I’ve had, Eleanor and Park was the only thing that helped me forget. I’m not saying the story is all about roses; it had moments of angst but not enough to add on to the real life angst I’m going through right now.

I’ve always been a fan of music in books. It’s interesting to see how a certain song or a genre help cultivate a character. This one has a doosie: eighties music, man. That’s the bees’ knees. It had me unearthing all of The Cure’s albums from my time capsule. It’s also the culture of the era that I’m fond of revisiting. And while Eleanor was not a trendsetter of the times, she has the je ne sais quoi attitude that tells everyone she couldn’t care less.

Eleanor’s and Park’s upbringings couldn’t be any different. Park’s family life was stable; he’s loved by both his parents and his brother. Eleanor was poor and living in a house with a violent stepfather and sharing a broom closet with her three other siblings. The only ray of light in her life was the half-Korean, half-Scottish boy who for some reason, actually liked her.

This book tackled a lot of issues pertinent to the times (and the present, as well). But in the end the story is still about the sweet, poignant romance between Eleanor and Park. Witty, charming and lovely.