I’m going to be really honest and say that I didn’t really know anything about Eleanor & Park before I bought it. I thought it was just another fluffy YA novel. I was so, so, so wrong. I ended up buying the book as a reward for getting surgery. Since it was the same price, I bought the gorgeous Barnes and Noble collector’s edition, complete with fan art. You can check out Eleanor & Park here.
Summary: The year is 1986, and Eleanor is a little different from the rest of the kids on the bus. She has just moved back in with her mother, stepfather, and siblings after spending a year away from them. Everything changes for her when she gets caught reading Park’s, the kid who sits next to her on the bus, comic books. He starts lending them to her, and then making her mix tapes. Park is her escape from her impossible situation at home. Her stepfather can never find out about Park. If he does, her whole family could be in danger.
Likes: First of all, the relationship between Eleanor and Park is beautiful and realistic. They’re both remarkably selfless, and selfish at times. Like real people. It’s obvious that the author did her research about the effects of living in an abusive family. The author also worked in a lot of pop culture references that I really enjoyed.
Dislikes: These aren’t so much dislikes as they are a warning. This book, though it is technically YA, deals with very mature themes of physical and sexual abuse. It also frustrates me that the ending is so, well, open-ended. But from a writer’s standpoint, I appreciate why she ended it the way she did.
TL;DR: I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, unless you are triggered by instances of physical and sexual abuse. I could definitely see this book becoming a classic in the future.