I’ve been looking forward to reading Eleanor and Park (Book #9 of 52) since I finished Rainbow Rowell’s first novel, Attachments back in 2011. I didn’t know what her second book would be about, just that I knew I’d be reading it. E&P has been out for a while now, released in the UK spring of last year (I die over this beautiful cover, though I do believe the US cover is a tad more accurate). It finally came out in the US at the end of February, and I already had it preordered so it would arrive the day it came out.
The book takes place over a school year starting in 1986. Eleanor and Park meet on the school bus, and it is Eleanor’s first day. With her wild red hair, bigger physique, and mismatched thrift store clothes, she’s an instant target for ridicule by the “cool” kids. No one will let her sit on the bus…except for Park. He is immediately embarrassed by her, worried of what people will think and say. Park is a Korean Irish punk who reads comics and is often wearing headphones. Though he refuses to talk to Eleanor, and she isn’t very privy to speak with him either, there is an instant and undeniable connection. What unfolds is a story about first, young love, the confusing emotions, and the fear and frenzy that accompanies these new feelings.
The book is written in third-person, alternating from Eleanor’s life to Park’s life with great ease.
This is important, because the two live very different lives.
At first, I didn’t understand why she made it take place in the 1986…why not keep it modern? Even Attachments took place in 1999…I was worried she’s stuck in the past. But there’s something about the past that makes that young love that much purer. No cell phones or Facebook to distract. Bullying happened in your face, not all over the internet for the world to see. I think that’s why I loved Perks of Being a Wallflower (the movie, as well as the book) so much…but I am digressing and I should share that another day.
I didn’t know much about the book going in. I seriously bought it simply because I enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s first book (and I will probably enjoy the next). I’m glad I was slightly clueless, because it made it that much more enjoyable. I so easily felt the embarrassment, shyness, and heart-skipping beats of young love…she conveys it so well. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a sweet and entertaining read.
If you’re interested, check out this review of the book by John Green, one of my favorite authors EVER. He’s a man you can trust.