Here's the summary from Goodreads: "Bono met his wife in high school," Park says. "So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers. "I’m not kidding," he says. "You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen." "What about Romeo and Juliet?" "Shallow, confused, then dead." ''I love you," Park says. "Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers. "I’m not kidding," he says. "You should be." Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under."
What I Liked: 1) I loved the all of the emotions that swirled around this book, and the emotions that it stirred in me as I was reading. We see a lot of "insta-love" in YA fiction, or even the, not quite insta-love, but where the characters will suddenly realize they love each other after spending a week arguing about something. The most poignant thing about Eleanor and Park is their slow, sweet slide into love. It's not something either of them are looking for, in fact they silently fight it for a while. And their love story develops without many words being exchanged at all. It's a different kind of romance, very moving and sweet. 2) Nothing about this book is simple. Eleanor is living in a harsh world where she has no privacy, and even less stability from adult figures in her life. Her psyche is damaged but still she manages to find beauty in certain things in life, and is truly inspiring in both her ability to find strength in unlikely places and her devotion to her siblings. Park's life, while it's been much easier than Eleanor's, isn't a bed of roses either. Yet even though neither of them know or understand deep and true love, they manage to find it within each other. 3) Bright spots of humor. I was chuckling aloud at some parts of this book. They fit so perfectly with the tone of the book, not out of place jokes just brought in to punch up dialogue. 4) This book was beautiful. There was beauty in the devastating and simple act of two misfits falling in love, and believing it can last when everything they know seems to be against them. Even now, days after having read it, their story is still on my mind and in my heart. It triggered nostalgia deep in me that made me think of the first time I fell in love, that sweet, woozy feeling, pounding heart, fireworks, and sweaty palms. 5) The ending. It was bittersweet, but also perfect in the way they made sacrifices for each other. Again, I'm struck by how beautiful I thought it was.
What I Didn't Like: I liked everything!
Overall Thoughts: I loved Eleanor and Park. It was a beautiful story than will touch anyone with a soul! ;-) Rich characters will tug at your heartstrings both with their back stories, and their love stories. But most of all, their tumble into an undiscovered land of love for both of them is stirring and emotional, and very raw. Readers of all ages can fall head over heels for these two, and will leave you remembering the passion and nerves of your first love.
My Rating: 5 shots