Eleanor and Park
Park's not popular but he's not an outcast. Sometime's that's all that matters when you're going to high school in middle America. Eleanor's the new girl with hand me down clothes and strange family. Music and comics will bring them together but the social pyramid and Eleanor's family concerns won't make things easy. Eleanor and Park is the story of two teens falling in love and just trying to get by.
I've been swept off my feet. Rainbow Rowell is the real deal. Eleanor and Park is sweet, thoughtful and completely engrossing. Her characters feel real. With chapters shifting between Eleanor and Park's perspective the reader gets the full story. Seeing first love through both sides is completely enchanting. The growth from Parks annoyance at the strange girl with the red hair and Eleanor's downtrodden attitude makes it next to impossible to put down.
The other thing that Rowell really succeeded with was setting. Her books tend to be set in Nebraska but by shifting the time frame to 1986 it's like reading about an alternate universe. Eleanor and Park is such a timeless story. It's refreshing to see teenage romance blossum without facebook, texting and smart phones. Instead there are comic books and cassette players and *gasp* using the family phone!
Eleanor and Park is perfect story to rekindle those tingly feelings of love in high school, and the thoughts that those moments when you're 16 are the most important ones of your whole life. While it may be classified as Young Adult Fiction I promise you this novel has life far beyond it's genre.