Eleanor & Park
By Rainbow Rowell
Reviewed by Dom
For back-to-school month, I thought I’d choose a book that technically falls into the Young Adult category. But, as with many YA titles in the past few years, many people will tell you this is better suited for adults than some kids. In fact, if you have kids who are 10 to 12, you may have some reservations. As always, it depends on the kid.
Do you remember the first time you fell in love? For most of us that’s an indelible memory: we can name the person, we remember where we were, and we certainly remember the outcome – which (often) is not good.
Rainbow Rowell has penned – or, more likely, typed – a terrific novel about first love. Neither Eleanor nor Park are perfect, but maybe they’re perfect for each other.
Eleanor’s the new kid, subjected to a torrent of horrible treatment. Other girls at school make her life miserable, and an abusive stepfather waits at home. Park doesn’t share his family’s love of sports, preferring instead to enjoy his comic books.
And that’s how these two kids meet: on the bus to school, over X-Men comics. Their relationship starts slowly, but builds into true first love. There are even mix tapes involved (the story is set in 1986, one of the reasons it has been so popular with adults who actually remember those days – and those tapes).
Of course, true love – especially our first love – can never be uncomplicated. Let me leave it at that.
Rowell will draw you in with not only solid character portraits, but dialogue that rings true. You’ll feel every iota of angst her protagonists experience.
Eleanor & Park is available at The Tattered Cover Book Store. If you mention Dom’s Book Club at checkout, it will save you 20% on this book. Enjoy!