Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

15745753RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: New girl Eleanor ends up sitting next to Park on the school bus and the pair forge an unlikely romance that can only end in heartbreak, or so Eleanor thinks.

I don’t normally read pure romance books because sometimes they are so lame and soap opera-y, but I had heard a lot of good things about this particular book, so I decided to give it a try. If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be sweet. Just everything that Eleanor and Park do, think, or say in regards to each other is sweet. The only thing that isn’t sweet is that Eleanor is from an abusive household, so that causes problems for them that never really end. I really enjoyed how real the book felt. Sometimes books geared toward teenagers feel fake, like the author is trying to simulate teenagers and going a little bit overboard. The mean girls are always a little too mean and always speak a little too preppy and sometimes the “normal” kids talk just a little too much like adult adults (not that some don’t, but sometimes I think teenage characters are way wittier than I was at that age). All the characters felt right, real, and authentic and not like someone trying to sound like a teenager. It was also refreshing for the female love interest to be from the wrong side of the tracks and also not to be a manic pixie dream girl kind of new girl because heaven knows how often the troupe of bad boy falls for and is reformed by good girl and ignored boy meets manic pixie dream girl show up in teenage romance. I also liked that Park and Eleanor had two distinctly different home lives that affected how they acted and how they thought about things and because the book alternates between their points of view you see how they perceive themselves and each other (how they align and how they conflict). It’s a relationship that you root for, but are also aware that it may not last because not everybody ends up with their high school sweetheart, but you enjoy it for as long as you can. Overall this was a sweet love story and a well written book, so if that’s your sort of thing then by all means read it.

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