Thursday, July 3, 2014

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

I have had several people recommend this book to me, but the main reason I decided to read this is because one of my former students, Jackie, suggested it in a Facebook comment.  (Gosh, I love social media when it keeps me connected with kids that have moved away!)

Set in 1986, this one took me back to high school, with the characters bonding over mixed tapes of The Smiths and The Cure, among other iconic 80's bands.

Eleanor is a "big" girl with red hair.  At 16, she's the oldest of five kids being raised by their mother and an abusive, alcoholic stepfather named Richie.  She shares an overcrowded room with all four of her siblings, and they are incredibly poor and neglected.  They are quite literally, the "red-headed stepchildren."

Park is a comic book reading, punk music listening half Korean/American boy that Eleanor meets on morning school bus. Park has one foot in popularity and one foot in the land of the misfits.  He and Eleanor form a friendship over comic books and music shared on a Walkman.  That friendship blossoms into a first love that's intense and complicated.

I loved this book.  The characters are so fully and wonderfully developed that I felt like I knew them personally.  I don't want to give away too much of the story, but I know this will be an incredibly popular read during the upcoming school year.

Thanks, Jackie!

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