Friday, January 25, 2013

Up and Coming: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Release Date: February 26, 2013

Getting on the bus as a new student, there is nothing worse than that moment when no one moves to let you sit down. Eleanor is about to find out just how awful that moment feels when Park grudgingly moves over and lets her have a seat. It's still awful at school, where Eleanor sticks out like a sore thumb with wild red hair and then also at home where she has to share a room with her three brothers and sisters, but at least she has somewhere safe to sit on the bus. As long as he keeps leaving her a space.

Park didn't mean to give Eleanor a seat, when he first saw her, she looked so strange to him that he almost thought she wanted everyone to think she was odd. But, he couldn't ignore the outraged voices of his mother and his grandmother in his head, telling him to do the right thing here. And so now he has the weird girl as a permanent seat partner, which would be terrible, except for the part where it's not at all.

Eleanor and Park do not have the most auspicious of beginnings, but a shared love of comic books and music soon makes up for it. The Smiths and Watchmen are the beginning of a beautiful relationship. But, when you're a teen, there's a lot of things that can come between two people and many of them don't have anything to do with you. There's parents and step parents and terrible bullies at school, then there's the fact that they're only sixteen. But Park is determined that now that Eleanor's walked onto his bus, she's going to stay in his life as long as she wants to.

This is one that I knew I was going to love from the second that I saw the cover and read the blurb. This is Rainbow Rowell's first book for teens, but she writes characters who you recognize right away. Park and Eleanor are teens who I could easily picture hanging out in our graphic novel section talking about all the ways the Watchmen movie wimped out on the ending. Of course, Eleanor and Park is set in 1986, so my imagining is a little out of date, but you get the picture.

 Park's parents are some of my favorite parents in a YA novel ever. In a novel that also features Eleanor's despicable step-father, it's nice that Parks' mom and dad are SUCH a contrast. Park's house is definitely one where I'd like to hang out after school, and not just because I want to copy all his mix tapes.

If you're a realistic fiction fan, or just a fan of great YA, don't miss Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. It's a book that you'll be seeing in December when I write up my best of the year, but don't wait till then to get your hands on it!

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