Eleanor & Park was written by Rainbow Rowell and was published in February of 2013. Sadly, this book also regularly makes it to banned books lists. I often suspect that the people who ban books have never read the books they hate or have skimmed the books, found a curse word, and dismissed the book entirely.
It is 1986 and sixteen-year-old Eleanor is the new girl at school. She doesn’t fit in. She is bullied. Her step-father is abusive. But still…Eleanor doesn’t feel sorry for herself. Park is the only half-Korean American in his small town. He doesn’t always get along with his father. He feels like he doesn’t always fit in.
I liked the way these two characters meet and slowly (oh so slowly) develop a friendship that leads to an innocent romance. It was refreshing to have high school characters treat hand-holding as something special. I really liked the way the storyline developed. And the ending of this story kept me captivated. The book didn’t end the way I expected, but I felt good about it.
I think this book is appropriate for high-schoolers and older. Yes, there is adult language in this book, but this book also has strong themes about standing up for your beliefs and being true to yourself. LOVE that! Also, I grew up in the 1980’s. This book rang true to the time period.