I love Rainbow Rowell and always wanted to read this, but I kept skipping over it because it deals with abuse and I thought it might hit a bit too close to home. I finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago though and liked it, although it certainly wasn’t perfect.
The story is about Eleanor and Park, a couple of teenagers who meet for the first time on the school bus. Eleanor has just started at Park’s school and sits on the only available seat, beside Park. Eleanor not only has a horrid home life, but she also has to put up with ridicule from the other students on the bus. I felt awful for poor Eleanor, having to put up with crap from all sides. She and Park don’t talk to each other at first, so she has no distraction at all. She also wear’s clothes that attract attention to herself (her parents provide her with no other alternative, plus it’s her style) and this just makes matters worse. I was so happy when her and Park started interacting because I knew (from experience) how much this would mean to her. At first they don’t really talk though, rather Park notices that Eleanor is reading his comic books along with him. This gives him the idea to lend her some of his comics and their relationship develops from there.
Eleanor begins going to Park’s house every day after school, back dropped by the ever-present threat of her step father finding out about their relationship. Eleanor knows that if he finds out about the two of them there’ll be hell to pay.
I liked a lot about this novel, like how well the developing relationship between Eleanor and Park was portrayed. Their relationship was treated delicately, almost a bit too delicately at times. It seemed as if they were younger than they were due to the seriousness the topic of kissing was given. Considering kissing was approached with such solemnity, I was surprised how quickly things turned more sexual, with both quite eager for more.
Things take a bad turn for the young couple, and Eleanor makes a decision I couldn’t fathom.(show spoiler)
Anyway, this left me feeling empty at the end.
I would definitely recommend it though and will be reading anything and everything else from the author.