We picked this book to be our February Teen Book Club pick, stealing our Cannonball book club format for a Facebook discussion. We picked it without anyone having read it ahead of time, which may not have been a completely great decision, but oh well!
The first thing that struck me was “Wow, there’s a lot of foul language in this!” I mean, it’s nothing that kids today haven’t heard constantly, but it’s still a little surprising coming right out of the gate. And it’s supposed to be a high school bus, and in that regard it’s pretty accurate.
Eleanor and Park meet on the bus after Park begrudgingly lets her sit with him. At first they ignore each other, but they eventually bond over music and comic books and start having a relationship.
Park seems to be a pretty normal kid. I can relate to Park a bit more than Eleanor. Well, physically I’m more like Eleanor in being overweight and a redhead, but that’s where the similarities end. I’m nowhere near as damaged as Eleanor is. And Eleanor is pretty messed up.
She has all of the trust issues. She was abandoned by her dad, but then also by her mom, which did a lot of damage. She feels like she has no one she can rely on, and until she meets Park, that’s pretty true. She trusts Park to a certain extent, but can’t seem to get there all the way.
She also trusts her friends at school, but she never sees them outside of school. If she’s telling her mom that she’s constantly going to a friend’s house, why can’t she actually go? I guess it would mean less time with Park, but he could go with them.
Eleanor is getting bullied both at school and at home, but finally has the courage to do something about it, even if that courage comes from fear. She sees the kindness in other people who realize that there are things beyond petty school rivalries.
This fulfills the CBR12 Bingo square of “No Money,” as I got it from the library!