Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I started reading this book, I didn’t think it was YA, considering all of the profanity and the adult nature of Eleanor’s situation. Despite those two things, the book was really good. It was crass and uncomfortable, which aptly describes the two main characters. Park and Eleanor didn’t quite fit in at school for different reasons. Park was half Korean in the middle of the mid-west, which made him feel like he stuck out. Eleanor came from a very dysfunctional, abusive family, and she felt like she was huge and fat compared to other girls her age.
I really liked the switching from Eleanor’s perspective to Park’s perspective throughout the chapters. How they viewed each other was quite different than how they viewed themselves, and their place in society.
It was interesting to see the contrast between Park’s parents and Eleanor’s mom and stepdad. Even the difference between how Eleanor viewed life before her parent’s divorce. The relationships were complex, and I didn’t catch on to the mystery of the words written on her cover until it was revealed (which I won’t spoil, but it’s an awful reveal).
For any parents wondering if this would be a good book to read, I would recommend that they read it before giving it to their teen. It definitely deals with some pretty heavy material, but I think it deals with it well.
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