Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"He'd stopped trying to bring her back"
Eleanor & Park... the story of two odd teenagers, who don't really fit in anywhere else & who are quite opposite from each other... & how they fall in love with each other.
It isn't your ideal first meeting. Eleanor, already looking differently with red hair & freckles, a little on the heavier side. The perfect attributes for kids to make fun of. She is the new kid on the bus & can't find a seat. After everyone shuns her & won't allow her to have a seat, Park greets her with a harsh tone & just tells her to sit down, letting her share in his space. It takes weeks for either one of them to even speak the first words to each other... but once they start sharing their thoughts on the comics that Park brings on the bus, their friendship starts.
They see they are from two different backgrounds. Park is a Korean who has an ideal family. A mom who is a beautician that works from home, a dad who is in the military & a younger brother. Eleanor comes from a home where she & her 4 siblings share a room, & a bathroom that is in the kitchen & a step father who is abusive & cruel. Her mother Sabrina has to sneak to stash any extra food for the kids or change to go to Goodwill to get them clothing.
Eleanor knows everyone makes fun of her & knows she's different... so when Park becomes her friend & then they realize the relationship is deeper, she's not sure how to handle it.
It's a sweet story of falling in love for the first time. The innocence of it. The nerve tingling moments of those first kisses, the time that holding a hand makes it feel like the world is stopping.
Park will do whatever it takes to protect Eleanor - from the bullies in the school, to the people on the bus... to the step father that Eleanor is afraid of.
I won't give away the ending, but as most things of young love, there are struggles.
I was rooting for this couple who seemingly felt perfect together. I wanted to read a happily ever after & wait for the next book of their college years... but you can see from the first sentence of the book (the first sentence I wrote) that it probably wasn't going to end with a rainbows & butterflies.
But what is young love if it's not a learning lesson & memories tucked into a heart that holds them forever...
I just really loved this book.
I loved Park - the way he was protective over Eleanor... I loved his family who supported him & just was the 'cool parents'
I wanted to scream at Eleanor's mother for being so naïve & idiotic in ignoring what she was doing to her children. I ached for the bullying Eleanor had to endure because she was different then the others.
At the end of the book, I felt like my heart had gone through a first love breakup ... I didn't want the story to end... I just loved these two kids....
A happily ever after ending? ... you decide :)
(if you don't want to know anything about the story - don't read any further)
Park: "I don't like you... I need you"
Eleanor: "I don't like you Park... I think I live for you.... I don't even think I breath when we're not together"
Park: "You're my favorite person of all time"
Park: "Yesterday happens"
LAST LINE: "Just three words long"
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