Eleanor & Park is an unconventional love story about two misfits who find each other while riding the bus to school. The book takes place in 1986, which means there are awesome 80’s references to big hair, bright clothes and music from bands such as U2 and The Smiths. The chapters alternate between the perspectives of both Eleanor and Park which makes for a very compelling story and allows the characters to develop individually and as a couple.
Both Eleanor and Park are misfits in completely different ways. Eleanor is labeled an outcast on her first day riding the bus due to her wild red hair and eclectic style of dress. While on the other hand, Park’s outcast status is more self-imposed. Park is half-Korean in Omaha, Nebraska, a predominately Caucasian city and his interests lie more with literature and music than sports, so he has a hard time relating to his male peers and athletic father and brother.
Eleanor and Park first meet on the bus when they are forced to share a seat. The two eventually begin talking when Park notices Eleanor reading a comic book over his shoulder. Their friendship progresses as they share books and mix-tapes and eventually fall in love.
This was such a great read, probably my favorite book of 2013. The novel explored and brought up so many different emotions—anger, sadness, joy—the vast array of feelings experienced during a first love. This book definitely put author Rainbow Rowell on my radar and I’m eagerly anticipating her next book!
Reviewed by Maddie, CLP-Squirrel Hill