If you somehow managed to stumble upon this review and you haven't already read Eleanor & Park you can consider me shocked, but here is what it is about: two teenagers that seem to have nothing in common, but find each other anyway and have to deal with all the messy ramifications of first love between two people that don't seem to belong together except that they do. It takes place during the 80s, was a bit unexpected and also maybe a bit unnecessary except that it means no cell phones and internet so communication was a lot harder.
That said, what made Eleanor & Park one of my favourite 2013 releases I read last year was the writing and the characters. It was impossible not to fall in love with Eleanor and Park as they fall in love with each other, and to want things to work out, especially for Eleanor who has a horrible family situation going on at home. Park experiences a lot of pressure from his dad and feels like he doesn't really fit in with his family and isn't masculine enough, and I really appreciated that voice and perspective, as it felt different from a lot of the love interests in young adult fiction, but still authentic.
What makes Eleanor & Park special is how real the characters and their relationship feels, this sort of star-crossed love has been done before and will be done again, but Rowell captures raw emotion in a way that makes it feel new. After finishing this book, I am definitely hungry to read more by her soon.
Release Date: February 26th 2013 Pages: 325
Source: Personal Publisher: St Martins Press Buy It: Book Depository