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Eleanor & Park Hardcover – February 26, 2013
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2013: While Eleanor & Park is technically classified as YA lit and has a cutesy cover, don’t let the stigma of “books for teens” fool or deter you. It is written about teens, sure, but the themes are so universal that anyone who survived high school will relate to the lives of the two protagonists. Eleanor is the new girl in town and her wild red hair and patchwork outfits are not helping her blend in. She ends up sitting next to Park on the bus, whose tendencies towards comic books don’t jibe with the rest of his family’s love of sports. They sit in awkward silence every day until Park notices that Eleanor is reading his comics over his shoulder; he begins to slide them closer to her side of the seat and thus begins their love story. Their relationship grows gradually--making each other mixed tapes (it is 1986 after all) and discussing X-Men characters--until they both find themselves looking forward to the bus ride more than any other part of the day. Things aren’t easy: Eleanor is bullied at school and then goes home to a threatening family situation; Park’s parents do not approve of Eleanor’s awkward ways. Ultimately, though, this is a book about two people who just really, really like each other and who believe that they can overcome any obstacle standing in the way of their happiness. It’s a gem of a book. --Caley Anderson
*Starred Review* Right from the start of this tender debut, readers can almost hear the clock winding down on Eleanor and Park. After a less than auspicious start, the pair quietly builds a relationship while riding the bus to school every day, wordlessly sharing comics and eventually music on the commute. Their worlds couldn’t be more different. Park’s family is idyllic: his Vietnam vet father and Korean immigrant mother are genuinely loving. Meanwhile, Eleanor and her younger siblings live in poverty under the constant threat of Richie, their abusive and controlling stepfather, while their mother inexplicably caters to his whims. The couple’s personal battles are also dark mirror images. Park struggles with the realities of falling for the school outcast; in one of the more subtle explorations of race and the other in recent YA fiction, he clashes with his father over the definition of manhood. Eleanor’s fight is much more external, learning to trust her feelings about Park and navigating the sexual threat in Richie’s watchful gaze. In rapidly alternating narrative voices, Eleanor and Park try to express their all-consuming love. You make me feel like a cannibal, Eleanor says. The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship they develop is urgent, moving, and, of course, heartbreaking, too. Grades 9-12. --Courtney Jones
Top Customer Reviews
They find themselves sitting together on the school bus every day. Over time they're reluctantly drawn together by sharing Park's X-Men and Watchmen comic books. Despite their friends' derision and their families' dismay and disapproval, they fall in love over mix tapes featuring The Cure and the Smiths. A larger, more dangerous threat looms over one of them, skillfully woven throughout the story and coming to a climax in a way that will have you reading faster and faster to find out what happens.
This story of first love---how it's almost always intense and heart-breakingly doomed, how you feel desperate and hopeless and wildly hopeful all at the same time---will take you right back to those thrilling stomachache-y days when you felt like you would suffocate under the weight of the love and lust you felt, and just holding your beloved's hand was enough to make you walk on air for weeks.
Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we're 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love--and just how hard it pulled you under.
It was the banter between these two that I found intriguing. Plus, I am a product of the eighties...if I thought I could get away with it, I would probably still where my hair in some ridiculous angular cut. Okay, not really but you will still find me lovingly listening to "new wave" music while I clean my house. Anyway, what I'm saying is the book seamed like something I would like.
I was wrong.
This book is something that I loved.
When I read on my Kindle, I highlight all the bits I want to remember for when I write my review. There are usually a handful. If you peak at my Eleanor & Park file there is yellow all over the place. There is so much good stuff here, it has it all.
Eleanor has a rough life and that is putting it mildly.Read more ›
I wasn't expecting what I received from reading this book. How to explain what I did get...and the following isn't intended to be melodramatic.
I was sucker punched, emotionally invested (hugely), horrified, awed, saddened, at times uplifted, grateful for some aspects of human nature and then human nature made me horrified by morally repugnant events. I guess what I'm trying to communicate without being overly sappy (and failing) how much this book made me feel. Highs and lows. It was demoralizing and insightful at the same time. There are so many simple moments of raw emotion on each opposite end of the spectrum and they transition so rapidly, you find yourself going, whoah how'd we get here when we were literally just over there? But in a good way.
It is an emotional roller coaster, but one of simplicity. The writing is fairly clean and well presented. The characters are complex in their simplicity and they invoked strong reactions in me. I wanted to get to the next sentence, paragraph, and page as quickly as possible to find out more about them. I was cheering and jeering alternately for almost each primary figure and several secondary ones.
The book starts a little slow and then when you're not looking or expecting it, your stomach drops out on you, just like riding a roller coaster. All of a sudden your roped into this complex scenario which almost everyone who's been in high school has experienced to a lesser or greater degree.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So, so, so, so good. So good. I have no other words. You just need to read it. So good.Published 17 hours ago by S. Adams
My daughter heard from a friend that this was a good book. She enjoyed it.Published 1 day ago by Julia Lednicky
I loved the book so much! I could not stop crying. It was so enjoyable to read, I couldn't put it down.Published 3 days ago by Kindle Customer
I loved this book...the powerful feel of your first love is captured in this book. Truly enjoyed it. The ending was a bit disappointing, it left me wanting more...Published 4 days ago by Tory W.
I'm usually not one for YT romance novels, but this one is a winner. Very sweet, real, and endearing. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Ender