You'll Want to Tune Into the World of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Reviewed by: Kelley Crawford
Summary: First, there’s Park—the boy who sits near the back of the bus listening to music in hopes of drowning out the morons that sit behind him. He’s half Korean, takes Taekwondo, and worries that he’ll never be man enough for his dad. Then, there’s Eleanor—with bandanas all over her body, dirty clothes she hardly ever gets to change, and crazy red hair that refuses to be tamed. They meet on the school bus. Eleanor and Park become a duo who bonds over comic books and the tunes on Park’s Walkman (oh, forgot to mention, the setting is Nebraska in 1986). Together, they face their own internal struggles, discover romance, and try to overcome the obstacles of their family life. It is their love that gives them an escape, but soon that escape gets threatened when Eleanor needs to leave her abusive step-father to live with her uncle. They wonder if their love can survive anything, and throughout the novel, they prove that it can.
Review: When Eleanor and Park meet for the first time, there are not sparks between them, but the reader feels the sparks flying off of the page by the first quarter of the novel. Rowell’s absolutely accurate dialogue and understanding of the struggles teenager’s face makes Eleanor and Park a book more than worthwhile to read.
Bottom Line: It’s a modern-day love story minus the cheesy, gooey stuff