Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.
Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.
When I first got into the book blogging community a few months back, I saw this book everywhere. It sounded interesting and got rave reviews and then I bought Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell instead. I still have no idea why, but I did. Ever since reading and loving that one, Eleanor & Park has been on my immediate TBR.
This book was so great. I find that a lot of the time when authors try to do something different, especially with quirky characters, it falls flat. Very quickly. But this never did. I loved that Elanor and Park’s relationship grew slowly and from a nothing. There was no putting the two of them together in class or for a science project, or anything. Their relationship progressed naturally through a mutual love of comic books and music, and it was great and real and felt all the more special when they took that next step.
Eleanor has a heartbreakingly awful home life and she dresses very strangely. She’s weird and makes no apologies for it. She has been teased, but she doesn’t change herself or try especially hard to fit in. And Park, with his own issues and feeling inferior to his younger brother who seems to be better than him in every way. I found myself liking Park for the same reasons I liked Ethan in Beautiful Creatures, he’s the popular guy who wants to find a way to express himself. I don’t know why I seem to like this so much, but obviously there is something in it. There was great banter between the two main characters, and I especially liked the Han Solo reference but then, I would. And oh man, that whole scene when they are on the phone together and she lying in the dark at her Dad’s house and they’re just talking. I was grinning like an idiot the whole way through. I didn’t think that the secondary characters were anything special, with the exception of Eleanor’s stepfather. I’ve read about some pretty awful people, but Richie is despicable and horrible and slimey and gross and I just wanted to scream at Eleanor and her mother to get those children out of there.
And the ending. I liked the ending as much as you can like an ending like that. I mean, there was no real closure but sometimes things just happen like that, don’t they? It was so emotional because I was invested in the characters, and I enjoyed every minute of it.