Looking for a good book to give someone…or yourself…this holiday season? Well here's a great one: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.
I stayed up till after midnight to finish it the other night because I just couldn't put it down. (And yes, I was crying and had puffy eyes the next morning.) I absolutely adored this book. None of that "it took me 70 pages to get into the book" business here. I fell in love with these characters quickly and completely. I loved their multi-dimensional, real world quirkiness. I loved their honest teenage insecurities. I loved Eleanor and Park for who they were and for the parts of myself I saw in them.
So, what's it all about? Eleanor moves into a tiny house, joining her mom, (awful) step-dad and younger siblings and begins a new high school only to be bullied and teased incessantly. But soon she finds a bright spot in her groundhog-esque bad days…and his name is Park. Their friendship develops slowly but becomes deep and intense. The book follows one year of high school life for these two with all twists and turns and ups and downs. And it's quite a ride.
For me, Rainbow Rowell is one of the best kinds of writers: so real. Her characters may be great at a turn of phrase or witty comeback, but they're also still awkward or shy or just wrong enough at times to be real. And she does a fantastic job of capturing the teenage experience and the teenage heart. If you ever had one of those intense first loves in high school or college, you will connect with that feeling again while reading this book.
I first was introduced to Rainbow when she wrote a pep talk for the NaNoWriMo experience I participated in last month. Her's was one of my favorite pep talks. So I thought I'd check out her books--two of them were actually already on my to-read list. And after loving this one so much, you can bet I will be reading Fangirl, her latest novel, very soon.
So, if you decide to check Eleanor & Park out at the library or bookstore, you'll find it in the Young Adult section. Eleanor and Park are both high-schoolers and I'd say this book is appropriate for high-schoolers and up. But, trust me, it's such a great book, the only thing that makes it young adult is the age of the main characters.
In the meantime, I will mourn the end of Eleanor & Park…I miss them both so much already. And I hope they're doing well.
Until next time, happy reading!