Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is a charming novel that won the Young Readers Book of 2013 Award. It is about two sixteen-years-old opposites in the year 1986. First they are uninvolved in each other’s lives, but they soon start talking and find they have similar interests. Over time they start hanging out and develop a relationship. The only problem is Eleanor isn’t allowed to have a boyfriend because her controlling stepfather won’t let her. So they keep their relationship a secret.
Rowell starts the novel with a flash-forward from Park’s perspective. I thought this was effective since I had a clue about the ending, so throughout the book I was trying to figure out why certain things occur. Then, when the real story starts, Rowell puts you on the first bus ride to school where Eleanor and Park first meet. Thus begins the love roller coaster of Eleanor and Park.
I rated this book a Bella because of the unique story and how it switched between the characters’ perspectives. It is an unusual setting and features two people who you think would never end up together, which I found refreshing. They weren’t stereotypes like blond, jock, or new kid. The perspectives switch throughout the book. You might think it would be confusing, but it isn’t. It is quite interesting getting thoughts and feelings from both characters.
The theme that emerges throughout this story is that first love can’t stay perfect forever. Being that Eleanor and Park are sixteen, they know they last, and they keep their relationship a secret from Eleanor’s stepdad forever.
The genre of this book is a contemporary realistic fiction. I recommend this book to girls especially. The pace is fast; I couldn’t put the book down. You will not be disappointed if you read Eleanor and Park.
St. Martin’s Griffin, 325 pages