Eleanor and Park ~ Rainbow Rowell

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Date Completed: 6/15/2016
Rating: 8/10

Quirky little YA love stories are literally the best. This book has become wildly popular, and with good reason. While I’m not sure this book is as perfect as everyone says it is, I still feel overwhelmed by how many emotions cycled through me during the reading of this book. For those of you who don’t know the plot by now, this is the story of Eleanor a young girl who comes from a difficult family. We don’t know the entirety of her past, but we learn it gradually. As we learn it we realize that she has lived with different people which is why he’s just now going to the same school as Park. Park is a quiet, sort of nerdy kid without really being nerdy. He reads comic books but he also sits in the back of the bus with the cool kids. He may not be friends with the cool kids, but he’s got a seat so how nerdy can he be. And this is their love story.

All of it is awkward , and they never quite sort out their feelings all the way. However this is due to Eleanor’s trauma. Throughout the book it is revealed that she has a traumatic home life. Although I said it was a quirky love story comma it is also the story of teens who come from difficult past and how they can work together to help each other and uplift each other. I find myself unable to and not wanting to explain the way that it made me feel other than to encourage everyone to experience it themselves. It’s full of cute and awkward interactions such as Eleanor thinking of Park, “It was the nicest thing she could imagine. It made her want to have his babies and give him both of her kidneys.” As with Rowell’s other books that I have read, she inspires creative, quirky thinking in the reader while generating a slew of other emotions that are so subtle they may even go unnoticed until the reader finds themselves laughing or crying. The more books I read of hers the more I grow to appreciate her writing style and the impact she has on the YA community. I hope she will branch out a little too push the norms of what YA looks like to be more inclusive of differences, I’m thinking probably something that speaks to psychical limitations? Maybe she could co-author a book with a person of color that centers on race and YA with some lgbt background plot?

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