Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell, St Martin's Press, 2013, 325 pp
THE SUNDAY FAMILY READ
The token young adult novel on this year's Tournament of Books has it all: troubled teens, bullying, first love and music. It is a modern day Romeo and Juliet. All I can say is that I wanted to read it everyday, I was completely immersed, and I didn't want it to end.
Eleanor lives in virtual squalor with her dysfunctional parents. Her large body and unruly red hair make her an object of ridicule at her new school. She can't understand her mother's weakness and worries about her horrible crazy stepdad. Surrounded by a self-imposed shell of mistrust, she is always blowing it with Park.
Park is Korean/American with basically good parents, except his dad who is a former soldier wants Park to be more macho. He takes pity on Eleanor during a classic school bus incident and eventually falls in love with her.
You basically know the rest but it turns out you don't exactly. That is why you keep reading. I think the sexual exploration was nicely done and realistic and should not worry parents but it probably does anyway. I am giving this book to my teenage granddaughter.
(Eleanor & Park is available in hardcover and eBook by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)