Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Parkby Rainbow Rowell

I am in love with this book.

If you want a sweet, challenging, swoonworthy, heartbreaking book, then run run run and get this one. It will grab you and suck you in and change everything while you're reading it.

Eleanor is an overweight girl with frizzy bright-red hair who has just moved "home" after being kicked out and forced to live with family acquaintances for a year. Her step-dad is abusive. Her dad doesn't want to know. She has to live in a tiny bedroom with all her many brothers and sisters, and help them struggle through their poverty while facing bullying at school and abuse at home. She doesn't really have any friends, but she begins a strange kind of friendship with Park, the boy who sits next to her on the schoolbus, after he notices her reading his comics over his shoulder and silently lends her a pile.

Park is a half-Korean comic and music nerd, neither popular or unpopular, living a nice middle-class suburban lifestyle with an ex-army dad who thinks he's too soft and a Korean immigrant mother who he simultaneously loves and is embarrassed by. He's the only Asian kid in the neighborhood, he isn't the son his father wanted, and his difference is sometimes hard to deal with.

Dating an outsider like Eleanor is not part of his plan to fit in. But slowly, intoxicatingly, painfully, their lives become entwined.

And god is the result a gorgeous book. I don't have words to describe how perfect Eleanor & Park is. Any attempt to describe it will just lead to flailing. So instead, I just want to quote the John Green quote on the back of the cover:

Eleanor & Park” reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.

Seriously. Go read this one. You won't regret it.