Book: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
From: Amazon (Christmas)
I just couldn't be left out of the buzz on this one. And so, it ended up being my last and very quick read, of the year.
This is the story of how two very different and somewhat misfit kids end up in a very unlikely relationship. We have Eleanor, who comes from an extremely dysfunctional family and doesn't have money for either food or proper clothes, with brilliant red hair and a body that is described as on the large side.
And then we have Park, who is half Korean, which I guess stands out, and who is nerdy and too smart, or something. Besides which, he's too beautiful for a boy. (He was actually quite awesome sounding to me!)
They are thrown together and after discovering their mutual love for comics, music and books, they become best of friends, even though they continue to be harassed by their classmates. Eleanor especially.
But it's Eleanor's family life that is particularly heart wrenching and in fact, stuff happens here that causes their whole world to come crashing down.
Sometimes this book is hard to read. There's some disturbing things going on. There's some (a lot of) foul language. And there's some mean and disgusting characters.
But mostly, it's a beautiful story of friendship and first love. Of conquering stereotypes. Of being who you and being comfortable with that. And for me, all that shines through the icky stuff.
Bottom line: I loved it. The people buzzing? They were right.
But what is new here is how the author portrays young love–with a brio and honesty that just took my breath away, it was so fresh and true. From Reading Rants
They don’t fit in, but they fit together. Their relationship can be defined as two forgotten puzzle pieces that are put together and lost again. From Books 'n Crannies
...and the end result is a novel that is a contender for one of the best of the year, if not one of the best young adult books ever penned. Yes, I said that. Ever penned. From A Reader's Respite
Even with an open ending I was content, and I think anyone who enjoys bittersweet (emphasis on the sweet) contemporary YA will think so too. From Book Harbinger