Staff Favorites: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and ParkEleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park is a novel told in dual narratives by Eleanor and Park, two misfits living in Omaha, Nebraska from 1986 to 1987. Eleanor is a full-figured, sixteen-year-old girl with curly red hair and crazy style, and Park, who is also sixteen and half-Korean, meet on the school bus (Park is the only one who will sit by Eleanor, who is teased mercilessly) on Eleanor’s first day at school. They gradually connect through comic books (that Eleanor reads over Park’s shoulder and he eventually starts leaving  on the seat for her to finish) and mix tapes of ’80s music, creating the ultimate teen love story. It is written about teens, but the themes are so universal that anyone who survived high school will relate. Neither Eleanor nor Park “jive” with their families, which brings them closer together. Their relationship grows gradually until they both find themselves looking forward to the bus ride more than any other part of the day. Things aren’t easy: Eleanor is bullied at school and then goes home to a threatening family situation; Park’s parents do not approve of Eleanor’s awkward ways. Ultimately, though, this is a book about two people who just really, really like each other and who believe that they can overcome any obstacle standing in the way of their happiness. It’s a gem of a book and one of my all time favorites! It does have language but it is a wonderful read. 5 stars all the way. – Kathy Carter, Circulation

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