by Rainbow Rowell

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Review

Trigger warnings for: domestic abuse, implied domestic violence, sexual harassment, and bullying.

Eleanor has an abusive stepfather, an emotionally distant father, and any number of bullies at her new school. She thinks Park is beautiful.

Park has the only parents on the block who are still together. When he's not being ignored he's being exoticized for his Asian heritage (some would argue even by Rowell herself). Eleanor is the only person he's met who really makes him feel.

He believes in love and relationships and the potential they hold. She doesn't.

When the two of them bond over comic books and New Wave music on the school bus, they start something neither of them can control and no one around them really understands. Their frustrations and insecurities as they attempt to navigate their relationship and their lives have the feeling of the insecurities and frustrations everyone deals with growing up. The characters don't feel like characters, but like real people.  

Eleanor & Park is a beautifully-plotted and emotionally raw story about first love which plays with the tropes of young romance and growing up but ultimately turns them into something which feels fresh and new. You root for the characters even as you prepare yourself for the worst that might happen. This book from Rainbow Rowell is sure to become a young adult classic.

 

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