Review Blog

May 24 2012

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Orion, 2012. ISBN 9781409116325.
Like Romeo and Juliet, Eleanor and Park are from two different worlds, even though they are both sixteen and go to the same school on the same bus in a mid- western USA city in the 80s.  Indeed, when the overweight, eccentrically-dressed, red haired and socially inept Eleanor is forced to occupy the vacant seat next to Park it's hate at first sight. But she shyly reads his comics sideways, and they gradually realize that not only do they share many musical and literary tastes, in a school where sport rules, but also they are deeply drawn to each other.
Meeting with Park away from the bus is problematic for Eleanor as her step-father rules their home by fear and she would never be allowed a boy-friend. She protects her four younger siblings in their impoverished home with its lack of privacy. Park is Korean with a father who had macho hopes for his 'different' son. These two misfits can't stop themselves falling into an intense, powerful and overwhelming first love. But secrets are hard to keep, and once stepfather, Richie, hears of her relationship, Eleanor's life is in danger and she and Park must take a huge risk.
Rainbow Rowell captures in minute detail that transforming all-powerful young love which flourishes despite the odds.
Kevyna Gardner

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