‘Eleanor & Park’ starts when the slightly weird new girl, Eleanor, steps onto the school bus and Park, a guy who is desperately trying to keep a low profile amongst the bus hierarchy, unwillingly offers her the space next to him. The story unfolds, offering a tale of young first loves that is honest and heartwarming, whilst also dealing with broken families and common teenage insecurities that everyone can relate to.
I started and finished this book within a matter of days. The character’s ring true; it is impossible not to find yourself screaming out loud: “yes, I know that feel. Yes, yes, yes!” There were a lot of times where I wanted to cry for Eleanor and tell her she was perfect, and times when I wanted to shake Park and tell him to stop stumbling over his words.
The narrative left me breathless. That’s the only way I know how to describe it. By alternating between Eleanor and Park’s perspectives, it gave you those insights into the fleeting moments of being an adolescent. Rowell’s crafting of words was also brilliant. Simple, yet effective in pinpointing the character’s emotions, and creating those rushed atmospheres where teenagers just don’t have quite enough time in the world to do and say all the things they need to.
It was a wonderful and refreshing book to read, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Its take on falling in love for the first time is so on point, and one that brought me close to tears. (You know it’s a good book when you get emotional!) A great introduction to the works of Rainbow Rowell — I’ll definitely be purchasing some of her other novels!