Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor
& 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.
Half-Korean sophomore Park Sheridan is getting through
high school by lying low, listening to the Smiths, reading Alan Moore’s
Watchmen comics, never raising his hand in class, and avoiding the kids with
whom he had grown up. When the new girl, Eleanor, steps onto the bus—tall, with
bright red hair and a dress code all her own—she’s an instant target. When he sees
that Eleanor is reading comic books, a silent friendship is born—and slowly, something
Adult author Rowell, making her debut in young-adult
literature, has a gift for showing what Eleanor and Park, who tell the story in
alternating segments, like and admire about each other. Their love is
believable and thrilling, but it isn’t simple: Eleanor’s family is broke, and
her stepfather abuses her mother. When the situation turns dangerous, Rowell
keeps things surprising, and the solution—imperfect but believable—maintains
the novel’s delicate balance of light and dark.
When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first
love—and just how hard it pulled you under.
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