|The recently-revealed US cover!|
Confession: I finished Eleanor & Park at 4:30AM on a work night. In the office at 9AM the next day, I was not so productive. Was it worth it? Depends on who you ask (my boss might have a different answer from me…), but I would yes. Definitely!
Eleanor & Park is the story of two teens growing up and falling in love in 1986 small-town Nebraska. That's the simple way of explaining it. The long way is that it's super difficult to explain in words, just like the explosive, yet fumbling first love experienced by its characters. It's a story that leaps across decades with ease, all so it can break your heart and mend it again (at least, that's what happened to me… is there a support group somewhere I can join?). This book wasn't much like anything I'd read before, and as soon as it comes out, I'll be pushing it on YA-loving friends (and possible converts) like a panic-stricken person handing out apocalypse brochures. That's how worth getting 4 hours of sleep it was! :)
Rainbow Rowell writes with expert flair, but it's hardly noticeable (in a good way). I actually had to pay attention to the typeface to realize just how well-done certain scenes were. The characters seemed too alive and full of voice to really rely on some random writer's words. Their personalities, their voices and their beings just kinda spilled out uncontrollably onto the page (which of course was Rowell's doing). There are moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity (like when Park dons eyeliner for the first time and realizes he looks pretty hot in it), and there are moments of outright, shocking devastation (like when Eleanor has to make a decision that will affect her entire future forever).
|Note: This book is jumping|
across the Atlantic from the UK.
I won't spoil the ending, but it was… yeah, it was pretty mind-blowing. (Is that a spoiler? If so, sorry!) There are a lot of things that don't happen in Eleanor & Park, and IMO, those things are what makes the story so achingly real - so true to life in all its goodness and sadness - that you can't help but feel that these kids existed once, in the flesh and blood, with their awkwardness and their self-doubt and their passion and their hope.
To make a long review short: check out Eleanor & Park if you're into awesome romances, raw teen emotion (like raw cookie dough, but better!), and achingly real stories. It comes out in the US in