RAINBOW ROWELL – Eleanor and Park
“What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that… someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back?”
Eleanor is the new girl at school. She can’t really fit in and blend into the background, what with her crazy red hair, mismatched fashion sense spanning old mens shirts and patches of coloured material covering the holes in her pants, and her curvaceous figure.
Park wears black, and tries to ignore the idiots at the back of the bus, but it’s hard when one of them is his neighbour. His home life is actually happy and normal, and his family stick out majorly in a town where broken marriages are the accepted norm.
Then one day, Eleanor sits down on the bus next to Park… and the rest is history.
So let me first say this… Eleanor and Park… oh, my heart. 💖
If you had told me that the blooming love story of an out-of-control red-haired scarf wrist-wearing girl and a half-Korean all black wearing eye-lined teenage boy would make me cry, I would have laughed out loud and suggested you go back to listening to your Joy Division, or something. 😉
But oh God, Rowell does good here, like REALLY good.
This immediately grabbed me from the first two pages, and had me dissecting and planning how I would reconstruct my own YA with odd clarity. It’s sharp, so honest and raw, while oddly maintaining a beautiful sense of naivety and sweetness when it comes to their blossoming relationship. I loved how the music was a soundtrack for their journey, and the references to uniquely high school things (being embarrassed for the over-the-top teacher’s antics) took me back in time and made me LOL.
Pros: Everything. Emptying out all your batteries in the 90s so that you can give them to your almost girlfriend who doesn’t have batteries for her Walkman, well if that isn’t love, then I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.
Cons: I wanted more! I totally got the ending though. I cried happy and sad tears (note, not bittersweet) because the ending was so perfectly imperfect, it’s kind of exactly what I want to emulate repeatedly with my own work, and for that I 100% respect it… but I still want more!
This is a beautiful coming-of-age novel, and balances the real with the raw, so, so well.
‘Need to know where the characters are’ rating system: 10/10.
This, is YA “with the volume turned way up.” 😊