Looking for a well-written teenage romance that will make you sob into your coffee at work (and therefore teach you NOT to read under your desk during office hours; this isn’t high school)? Have you already read The Fault in Our Stars, but feel the need to punish your poor heart even further? Then I have the book for you!
Eleanor & Park is about two kids who meet on the bus and don’t speak for weeks. Then they fall in love. Then at some point, your heart stops beating and you vow to only read Stephen King novels for the rest of your life.
In more detail, Eleanor is an overweight, curly-haired redhead who lives in deplorable conditions with her abusive stepfather, her beaten down mother and her younger siblings (who wrecked me, as well). Eleanor’s first day at school she sits down on the bus next to Park, a Korean-American who ignores her completely. They eventually begin to bond over a love for comic books, and he tries to get an understanding of Eleanor and her world without scaring her away.
It’s set in the mid-80s, but you’d almost never notice if it wasn’t for the occasional reference to a Walkman and the fact that Park’s parents met when his father served in Korea. Rowell creates these two kids so carefully and completely that you can’t help but love them. And with the constant references to Romeo & Juliet, not to mention Eleanor’s home life, you can’t help but fear for them as well.
I really loved this book, but I hate my sister for letting me read it.