Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

Oh boy, I'm a little worried.  It is only the middle of June and I fear that I've read the best book of the summer.  ELEANOR & PARK is one of those amazing books that you don't want to put down, but you also don't want to finish.  If you haven't check it out yet, please do!

Author Rainbow Rowell has masterfully captured the unique relationship between two misfits who never thought they would be destined for love.  Eleanor's life has dealt her one blow after another.  She simply doesn't expect anything but disappointment.  She has successfully built a barrier to protect herself from the taunts and teasing she faces on a daily basis.

Park has friends, but he would rather use his music and his comics to block out the crass, immature behavior that surrounds him.  His parents love him but don't always understand him.  When he suddenly finds himself sharing a bus seat with Eleanor, he tries to focus on his own little corner of the world, but he is drawn to her flaming red hair and her seeming indifference to the cruelty aimed in her direction.

Gradually, after sharing a bus seat every morning and afternoon, Park and Eleanor begin to communicate.  It begins as Park realizes she is reading his ever-present comic books as he turns the pages.  Music comes next when he mentions his favorites and begins to pass her a tape or two.  Eleanor can't believe he is so friendly, and when his actions suggest he may even think of her as more than just a friend, her world begins to blossom in a way she never would have imagined and isn't sure she can trust.

These two castoff characters captured my heart and pulled me into their relationship immediately.  I was fascinated but also felt a bit like I was trespassing on something private.  The relationship Rowell creates between the two is so tender and tentative, I found myself holding my breath and feeling the need to read carefully so as not to disturb or disrupt their personal space.  At least for now, it is the best book I've read this summer.

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