Eleanor & Park
By Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin's Press, 2013. 325 pages. Young Adult
Eleanor is the new girl in school, and Park is the only person who begrudgingly moves over to give her a seat on the bus. Off to a frosty start, Eleanor and Park ride the bus to school each day in silence, until Park notices Eleanor following along as he reads his comic books. There, a tenuous friendship begins in this novel set in 1986. We learn more about Eleanor, Park, and their families, but the heart of the book is the gradual progression of these two teens as they come together.
This is a story of first love, and it was excellent. The characters were believable and complex, the plot could have easily been cliche but wasn't, and the story captivated me. This will feel especially nostalgic for anyone who went to school during the 80's, but ultimately, anyone who has experienced or hoped for the thrill of their first love will find something to enjoy here. There is some language, just like in any high school hallway, so while I wouldn't recommend this for younger teens, I would recommend this to most everyone else. I listened to the audiobook and the narrators did an excellent job.