Here's the description from Goodreads:
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
What can I really say about this book that hasn't already been said?? I absolutely loved it. And I was really surprised that I did. I have to admit, when I first picked it up and started reading, there were moments between Eleanor and Park when I was like "ok this is awkward and lame..". BUT THEN-I thought back to my own days as a 16 year old girl, crushing on the cute guy who eventually became (and still is!) my boyfriend. And this book captures that so well!
Teens can be so quick to fall in love, and I think part of the reason is because it's all so new-they aren't wise to the ways of the world. They haven't been dumped in the past. They haven't been cheated on. And the relationship between Eleanor and Park is so sweet and innocent and so true for many of us.
I loved how Eleanor wasn't your typical lead female book character. She's a bit overweight. She has no money and wears baggy, old clothes. She comes from a broken household where he father rarely sees her and she's stuck living with a bunch of siblings and a step father who abuses her mother.
I think Eleanor is such an important character. I think a lot of girls read this and really connect with her on a level they may never have for other books. And Park is also important. He looks beyond Eleanor's body and really loves who she is as a person.
One more thought before I end this-I LOVED that this takes place back in the day before computers and the internet and cell phones and ipods. I LOVED it!! It reminded me of my childhood in the 90s. I remember it was such a big deal when I finally got my first walkman CD player in 6th grade. And how weird is that Eleanor and Park can't just text?! When my parents were dating, my dad called my mom every night at 9 and they talked for a whole hour. An hour! Now when I first started dating Jacob I didn't have a cell phone, so we talked on the phone too, but not like my parents did. I feel like something was lost when texting became all the rage. Don't get me wrong, I love texting. But I've always hated phone calls, and in a way I think texting is a good excuse to keep on hating phone calls.
So! Did you read Eleanor and Park? What did you think?
**Edited to add some favorite quotes because I almost forgot!**
Page 23: (this basically sums up my experiences with gym class): It made sense that Tina was in Eleanor's gym class-because gym was an extension of hell, and Tina was definitely a demon.
Page 61: (This one is an exact thing that happened to me in gym in high school. My teacher told me I had to start eating Wheaties....): Beebi giggled. "Better tell her you didn't eat your Wheaties."
Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Date of Publication: 2013
Number of Pages: 336
Genre: YA Fiction
Source: Personal copy