Book Summery (Via Goodreads): Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
Every now and again, there comes a book that tugs at my heartstrings and keeps me awake thinking about what I just read. Eleanor and Park was that book. It is going to be very difficult for me to talk about this book without rambling. No matter what, just read this. It needs to be read.
What I loved.
The characters. Park is a friendly, well-meaning person who initially tries to keep his head down in high school until he graduates. Well, until Eleanor comes along (we'll get to that in a minute). Park is into comics and music, well beyond into...dare I say passionate about?! Park is person who tries to do the right thing, and comes from a good family. Park's mom is one of my favorite characters. Park definitely takes after her in so many ways. Ok...I'll put the kabash on the rambling. Eleanor. Eleanor brings Park out of his shell. While she is somewhat a victim of circumstance, she wears her inadequacies like a suit of armor. While she might come across as aloof and defiant, she definitely has a softer-side that the reader gets to see. Eleanor is really into reading and eventually finds interest in comics and music. :) There are many ways that Park and Eleanor differ, but the most obvious is their family life. Compared to Park's loving and warm parents, Eleanor comes from a rather dysfunctional household full of abuse and neglect. You could make a strong argument for this environment being responsible for Eleanor's perhaps mix-ed up priorities and overall behavior.
Overall, Rowell takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotion. I do think it is important to mention that this story takes place in 1986, which I didn't see on the book summary, but it will help to place certain references and hopefully eliminate some confusion. This book swept me away from page one. I began listening to this as an audio book, which I highly recommend. But, I kept thinking about it well after I got out of the car. Luckily, John bought me a copy of this for Christmas last year, so I could read it in the house. Let me tell you folks. This book hit me hard. It will remain a part of me for many years to come. I can. not. tell you how amazing and moving this novel is. Just read it. It needs to be read!
Cover Art Commentary:
I love the simplicity of this cover. It just speaks to me on multiple levels. Am I making sense? I hope I am making sense.