|Happy (almost) summer!!|
Overview: Okay, I guess I'm a little late to this party, but I'm glad I finally got here. This book is the story of two teens who don't quite fit in in small town Omaha, Nebraska. Park is Korean-American, a lover of music, and only dodges the attacks of the popular kids because he went out with their leader in the sixth grade. Eleanor is a bit overweight, covered in freckles, and has flowing, curly, red hair. She also dresses in jeans and oversized shirts, wears bangles on her wrists, and ties trinkets in her hair. When Eleanor gets thrown into the bus seat with Park, it is only the start of something sweet and beautiful. But all good things cannot last, especially when Eleanor has to combat her abusive stepfather and meddling siblings at home. This is a sweet story with a bittersweet end that any contemporary YA fan is sure to love. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 Rowell did a great job of capturing teens and their thoughts and emotions. She has also presented diverse characters that just about everyone can see themselves in in a beautiful and unassuming way where the facts just are and are not given excessive attention. Park is short and quiet which causes tension with his military man father. Rowell shows the readers his firmness in really finding himself and not giving in to others as well as his father learning to accept that. Eleanor has to deal with bullies at school who attack her for her hair and her weight as well as her abusive stepfather and abused mother and siblings at home. These issues also cause Eleanor to question why anyone would want someone like her after being called an ugly screw up her whole life.
The supporting cast also complements the narrative well and brings the story to life.
Plot: 5 Boy meets girl. Girl tries to hide her problems. Boy tries to help. The story is a simple one. It is life and the ups and downs of it, but similar to We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, Rowell makes the simple things so moving and complex. It is a remarkable talent.
Writing: 5 (Unfortunately there isn't a higher number) I'm blown away by what Rowell has done with this story of Eleanor and Park. Written in third person personal with many switches between Eleanor and Park even within chapters, the author executes a feat that many fail to twist to her advantage. The varied lengths of the two points of view helped set the mood, and even through third person, it helped familiarize the reader with the characters.