Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Type: Fiction, novel

Published: 2012

I read it: April 2014


This book excels at what it sets out to do: tell the story of teenage love. At first, you wonder how a book so tightly focused on two individuals could go on for so many pages, but it breezes by in the best way. Eleanor is the more memorable of the two characters here, although they are both realistic (and the supporting cast is finely drawn). There is definitely a nostalgia angle, and I did wonder why it was necessary to set the book in 1986 instead of 2014. (There are only a couple slip-ups; I don’t think “ginormous” was part of the 80s lexicon.) Perhaps it’s just a way for the author to write what she knows instead of dealing with the modern technology that would need to be part of a current storyline. Plus, the constant band names and X-Men references are fun for readers of a certain era.

Like Pete Hautman’s The Big Crunch, this book is a breath of fresh air due to its realism and lack of frills. But as with the Hautman book, I remain curious about what an actual high schooler thinks of it. Does this book serve teens, adults, or both? Time will tell.

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