Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is not a new release, first coming to our shelves back in 2013. I picked this up from my local library. Then I bought a copy. Then I started to tell others to buy a copy. I think it is safe to assume I adore this book, a lot.
Eleanor and Park meet for the first time on their school bus and are an unlikely pair to start a friendship. They slowly start to fall for each other in the most subtle and beautiful way. What I loved most was the realistic way Rowell portrays their journey from two people who dislike each other for no reason, to full on deeply in love. Realising that you hold a bias against someone just because you expect them to be a certain way, and then struggling to break down that barrier and admit to yourself there is a connection between you. This is a common story in people’s lives and Rowell portrays it effectively.
The end is heartbreaking and I was in denial for awhile that it could have ended the way it does. I wanted more from these characters and didn’t feel emotionally ready to leave them behind.
Rowell’s brilliance is obvious in the way she manages to draw in themes of child abuse, domestic violence, and bullying, whilst still maintaining the light and heartwarming romance at the heart of the story.