As an avid reader of love stories, I knew I must read Eleanor and Park once a friend gave me the suggestion. The story alternates between the two characters as they figure out the complicated matters of their first love. Eleanor is the new girl in town and struggles with a bad home life. Park, a half-Korean comic book lover, is just figuring out his life and himself. Eleanor, her mother, her abusive step-father, and her four younger siblings live in poverty. The stepfather terrorizes the entire family. Eleanor’s mom wants to pretend everything is fine, even though Richie is violent and abusive. Park’s home life is much more welcoming than Eleanor’s; the parents have a loving relationship, and they have a comfortable lifestyle. Still, Park faces tensions at home since his dad wants him to be more masculine, and Park always feels he’s letting his dad down. When Eleanor sits down on the bus next to Park, they are both resentful of the situation. Soon, however, this changes radically. Eleanor and Park slowly begin to form a connection over the course of their bus rides. They first build their relationship silently by listening to music and reading comic books together. Eventually, their relationship grows; they start talking, and their bus rides become the best part of their day. As the story progresses, these two are smart enough to know that first love never lasts, but are brave and desperate enough to try.
Note from Rae: Please leave a comment in the response box and let Savanna know if you have read or are tempted to read the book by her review.