Saturday, May 25, 2013
Published By: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Number of Pages: 325
How I Got This Book: e-ARC from Netgalley
My Rating: 5/5
""Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under."
I loved this book so much! First, I loved the 80's references (it's always nice for us "older" YA readers to be able to connect to a book for nostalgic reasons). I loved that Eleanor and Park weren't your typical couple. And I loved how I felt reading this book - it made me remember my first love and those strong emotions that I experienced...there is just nothing like it.
Eleanor was new to the school. She lived with her mom, and 3 younger siblings...oh, and a horrible, HORRIBLE stepfather. They lived in a "bad" neighborhood. Eleanor wore clothes from Goodwill that never fit right, much less were trendy, and they rarely had enough food to eat. She even mentioned that she didn't even have a toothbrush...she rubbed salt on her teeth in the school bathroom. She was also overweight and had bushy red hair and freckles. She was basically a walking target for ridicule as a new kid.
On her first day riding the bus, everybody refuses to share a seat with her...until Park takes pity on her and shares his seat with her (although he wasn't very nice about it.) From there, a relationship is born...they discover that they have a lot in common - comic books, music, books...there is so much for them to talk about! Park, who also feels like a misfit as he is the only Korean kid at school, realizes he is falling for this unusual girl. And Eleanor is REALLY falling for Park. Hard.
But, she has to be careful. Her stepfather keeps a tight leash on her, and she has to hide her friendship with him. She also knows that she is not the type of girl that Park's parents would want their son with. Park's mom is a beautiful, tiny Korean hairdresser. His dad is a good looking, strict army veteran. Eleanor feels very out of place in their "perfect" home. At first she tries to hide her own family life from Park, but slowly she begins to share about the horror that she lives with.
The love that blooms between them is indescribable...so sweet, and the only way I can think to explain it is "perfectly imperfect." It seems that all odds are against them, but they just love each other so much. I love that Park, even though he described himself as a misfit, he seemed to be popular and goodlooking, could get past Eleanor's outward appearance, and love everything about her. He didn't love her in spite of her flaws, but loved her because of them.
I don't want to give anything away - because I HIGHLY recommend this book - but be prepared to be sucked into this unusual romance and all the emotions that come with it. I hope you will love Eleanor and Park as much as I did! I am totally looking forward to Rainbow's next book Fangirl. I also received this one from Netgalley, so hopefully I can get to it soon!