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Eleanor & Park Paperback – 2012
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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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
*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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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The book was engaging and and written in a fluid style which made it a quick read for me. I can see how young girls get lost in the love story of two people unlikely to fall in love. Also for my daughter, who is gifted, the bullying of young Eleanor hit close to home although Marie wasn't bullied as bad as Eleanor.
I have to say that Eleanor is not my favorite person and I often found her too over the top angry. Had I been Park, I would have told her to hit the road quickly into the relationship. He was the one person she should not have been angry with. Coming from a home of abuse, raised by two alcoholics I could relate in parts to her, but I was never as difficult and angry as her. Making me think that the author doesn't have much experience with bad childhoods.
Most children coming from bad homes are over the top happy, never wanting anybody to know what is going on at home.
I wish the author would have went more into depth on the subject of weight issues in young girls and how our society forces this super model image onto them. It is a really bad issue for teens growing up in today's world.
Still, I am giving the story four stars, because from the perspective of a teenager this was a story many young people can relate to.
Most recent customer reviews
Great book filled with emotions.
I never wanted it to end even though I cried through most of it. Having to feel the pain of your first love over again was terrible but amazing. Beautiful job.
While I did enjoy the relationship between Elanor and Park for the most part and did really like the idea of these...Read more