One of the most recent books I’ve read is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and it was a piece of young adult fiction that pulled at my emotions more than any of John Green’s books have. And that is saying a lot, because John Green knows how to make you feel things. However, I am not exaggerating in any way when I say that if you amplify the feelings TFIOS gives you by about 100 you might get to the state Eleanor & Park put me in.
This book is a novel about a special kind of love found between two misfits in a low income Omaha neighborhood set in the 1980’s. Park is a half-Korean boy who rides the bus to school everyday and his life seems rather anti-climatic until Eleanor comes into it. Eleanor is a chubby girl with wild red hair and a downright awful home life and a need for an escape.
Eleanor and Park foster a relationship that begins with shared comic books and suggested songs and almost no words whatsoever. However, with each bus ride together they open up a little bit more until they become inseparable and truly, deeply in love.
As Eleanor’s life grows rougher and rougher Park becomes her escape and her hero and they both find little ways to help one another.
When I give hints that allude to the plot, it sounds like yet another typical teenage romance novel. Trust me, it’s not. There’s something to be said for the way that Rowell writes, and however she does it she builds this intense emotional connection to the characters. It made me care for them in a way I never seem to when it comes to book characters.
The only way to understand what I’m talking about may be to read the book. You’ll thank me later, I promise.