I've decided to say something about the books I read as I read them, rather than waiting until the end of the year. This is what I want to say about Eleanor & Park: I loved it. Or rather, I loved them.
Eleanor is big, awkward, jaded by life. Park is sheltered and shy. When they find solace in each other, both have to learn to love and to be loved and to face all the insecurities that go along with that. This is a book about vulnerabilities and a reminder that every kid who gets up every day and gets on a school bus and goes to high school is a hero.
This is a young adult love story . . . sweet, sexy, sad. The pace is realistic and slow with most of the action going on in the lives and homes of the two friends. They are drawn with so much resonance that, as I turned the last page, I felt as if I knew them both and wanted to find out more. I wondered, though, if I would like them if I knew them in real life. Each of them has an inner world that is so much more meaningful than their awkward exteriors (like all of us) but I'm not sure I would know that if I met them, say, at church or next door. That's challenging.
I don't read a lot of fiction and when I do, I tend to choose books that are a sure thing. For me, anyway, this one is.
*If you don't like the idea of teenagers using bad language and thinking about sex, this isn't a book for you.