Thursday, 28 March 2013

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

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 sixteen."
"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, ELEANOR AND PARK 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.

I picked up Eleanor & Park at Powells earlier this month because you may remember how much I enjoyed Attachments last year and also, Rainbow Rowell is adorable on Twitter and her enthusiasm  about the book got me excited about it as well.

Eleanor & Park is great because it is very much about that super heady teenage love, love where it is important and it's everything and it is the most. It captured that feeling perfectly and it's one of those things that I think will revert every reader to about seventeen years old.

What's even better, though, is how great the characters are. Underneath this veneer of teenage love, there are two teenagers just trying to get through their lives, grow and mature in very different home lives and very different problems. They're not perfect: Eleanor gets upset overly easily and is heavier than she'd like to be. Park doesn't always get along with his dad and still sometimes gets embarrassed to be seen with Eleanor (who isn't cool) and then mentally beats himself up about it.

These kids are real in a way that a lot of YA fiction doesn't cover. They're also the kind of kids that I would have hung out with in high school (yes please, reading Watchmen together) so perhaps I'm a bit biased but Park's problems seemed real in a way I know most kids deal with and Eleanor's are indicative of another significant portion of kids. 

It all fits in perfectly well with Rowell's writing style, which is crisp and fresh, never meandering (except when it should) and full of references that pop. I really enjoy her style and look forward to reading more from here. She has a book called Fangirl coming out soon that looks right up my alley.

Eleanor & Park is absolutely lovely, full of teenage love and angst in just the right doses. You will breeze through it (I read it in less than 24 hours and had a tv marathon in-between) but it will stick with you. Read it and remember what it felt like to be sixteen and in love.

P.S. Also, the cover is adorable.

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