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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

Eleanor & Park is our Buddy Read about teenage first love between two 'misfits'

A Buddy Read for August is Eleanor & Park. A charming story of teenage love while dealing with bullying at school, whispers on the school bus and dysfunctional, abusive family situations.

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

Awards: Printz nominee and several other YA awards

Genre: YA, Romance

Published 2012, 328 pages

Terrie's Thoughts

This book came highly recommended, so I thought it time to finally read it. And I'm glad I did - An excellent read!

Rowell brought back all those pit-in-the-stomach feelings that we all suffer as teenagers and then the time that someone likes you back? It feels delicious and heavenly and terrifying and exciting. Rowell describes it all beautifully. Those scenes on the school bus are priceless!

In addition to the riot of emotions of a first love, Eleanor is dealing with such a disastrous home life that it makes everything more complicated. Written so believably and with a bit of a smile here and there, it's ultimately a feel-good story.

I'll pass along the recommendation - a YA book for every age to read.

Donna's Thoughts

The first chapter of Eleanor and Park was not off to a good start for me. It opens with a bunch of rowdy school kids on a bus swearing at each other and the kid dynamic is not something I can relate to. But then it switched to the slow process of romance between “weird” Eleanor and handsome Park who were complete opposites and initially ignored each other.

In addition to dealing with the budding romance of the two leads it also focuses quite a bit on the abusive relationship between Eleanor and her step-father and raises that age-old question, why doesn’t the wife leave him? I always find this very frustrating and hard to understand, possibly because, luckily, I have never faced this situation.

By the end of the book I was getting tired of all the romantic longings and intense feelings between the two. The book’s ultimate ending is ambiguous, one open to interpretation. I prefer to have it pretty cut and dried and know exactly what has happened between the people I’ve been reading about for 300 pages, but maybe you will like being able to say to yourself…'this is how it all turned out'.

If you've read Eleanor & Park, leave us your thoughts in the comments. Are you a fan of YA stories? Do you have something to recommend?

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