Book #14 of 2014: Eleanor & Park

I’ve been dying to read this book ever since I first saw it, but it’s been on hold forever. I almost jumped up and down when I got the call from the library that it was FINALLY my turn. To be honest, I didn’t even really know what it was about, but the cover was cute and I had heard good things about it.

It’s 1986 and Eleanor is the new kid at school, which is bad enough without having fiery red hair and dressing like a boy. She looks weird so obviously no one likes her. Park is just barely hanging on to the outskirts of the popular group and he mostly tries to just stay out of everyone’s way. He offers Eleanor the seat next to him on the bus after she is turned down by just about everyone else, but not without first cursing at her and then putting on his headphones and ignoring her completely.

Their friendship starts awkwardly, with Eleanor sneaking peeks at Park’s comic books during their bus rides. He starts letting her borrow some, then they talk about music, and before you know it, those two crazy kids are head over heels for each other. Eleanor comes from a troubled past full of divorce, an abusive step-dad, and too many mouths to feed, while Park is a delightfully well-adjusted teen with two parents and a brother and his extended family living next door. They are complete opposites, but that’s exactly what makes them work.

You guys, I cried when I finished this book. I immediately wanted to start over at the beginning and read it cover-to-cover again because I hadn’t had enough of Eleanor and Park yet. I’ve since read a lot of reviews criticizing their relationship, but I thought it was sweet and wonderful and full of love. Who cares if they went from hating each other to Eleanor wanting to eat his face (seriously) too soon? Things move fast when you’re in high school. I thought that the author did a fantastic job of illustrating teenage relationships. However, I could have done without all the constant references to it being 1986. Mention a Walkman once and we get it. I don’t need a reminder in every chapter.

If you haven’t read this yet, go get yourself a copy. I’m putting it on my birthday list because it’s THAT good that I need one of my very own.

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3 thoughts on “Book #14 of 2014: Eleanor & Park

  1. This was the read that kicked off my 2014 reading year, and what an awesome selection it was! I actually thought their relationship built pretty naturally and realistically, and definitely don’t get others’ criticism of the switch between curiosity/disinterest to love happening “fast.” There was so much build-up! It made it better! I’ve heard that for as awesome as Eleanor & Park is, Fangirl is even better. Saving it for a rainy day!

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