Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

eleanor“Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.”

When I saw this book, I simply had to buy it – I absolutely loved Attachments so this purchase was a no-brainer. I bought it just before Christmas and raced through it in a few sittings.

Eleanor and Park are worlds apart. Park is half-Korean, with two supportive parents, while eclectically-dressed, red-haired Eleanor has only just moved back home, where she has to tiptoe around an abusive, alcoholic stepfather. The two meet on a bus and are slowly but surely bound together by their mutual love of comic books and the same music. Park’s one of the cool kids, while Eleanor is considered an outcast, but slowly, across their social boundaries – and the bus seat – their feelings for each other grows.

Cue an intense, emotional first-love relationship with tearful dramas over mis-said sentiments, stolen moments and snatched physical contact. But a force bigger than their love – Eleanor’s stepfather – looms on the horizon, and it suddenly becomes clear that Eleanor can no longer stay in her destructive home. Will Park manage to get her safely away from her dangerous surroundings… And will their relationship be able to withstand the distance?

A heart-wrenching story of first, true love, told with genuine authenticity, Eleanor & Park is a beautifully written, evocative novel. Definitely a must-read (if you have a box of tissues to hand).

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