Bingeing on ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell

Before I completely gush about this FANTASTICALLY AMAZING contemporary young adult novel, here’s a blurb so you have an idea of what it’s about.

 

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Okay, so that’s a really short blurb but you get the picture.

This is one of those books that is hard to describe in a review because it just gives you that feeling.  That hard to pinpoint feeling that only very special novels can give you.  Like, I wanna weave a BFF bracelet for me and this novel to wear because I felt like it just really spoke to me.  But alas, books don’t have wrists.  Also they aren’t people.

‘Eleanor & Park’ touches on everything.  First love, race, social class, bullying and it’s FUNNY.  These are heavy issues and Rowell’s wit really balanced that out.  Now that I’ve said that I need to say something about the romance.  THE ROMANCE, PEOPLE.  Read this…

Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.

and this….

“Nothing, really. I just want to be alone with you for a minute.”

He pulled her to the back of the driveway, where they were almost completely hidden by a line of trees and the RV and the garage.

“Seriously?” she said. “That was so lame.”

“I know,” he said, turning to her. “Next time, I’ll just say, ‘Eleanor, follow me down this dark alley, I want to kiss you.'”

This love story is so pure and so innocent.  High school kids will eat this up.  Adults will eat this up.  Seriously, it’s definitely at crossover status.

Another quick note I want to make is about the fact that it’s set it the 80’s.  Music is definitely a big factor in this book and it almost feels like another character.

There’s a reason this is at the top of all the best books of 2013 lists.

5 out of 5 stars

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Bingeing on:’OCD Love Story’ by Corey Ann Haydu

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Just finished this fantastic young adult novel. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic… and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.

Okay, so first things first.  I love Corey Ann Haydu’s writing style.  She’s fun and quirky. Which is definitely needed because this book is a smidge heavy.  By young adult standards.  Think 15+.  Her attention to detail is insane- if you don’t know what it feels like to be really anxious, you will get a taste of it in here.

It’s also her debut novel, so congrats!

ANYWHO.  Here’s the short of it.  This is isn’t a standard young adult romance.  There are real issues going on in this novel. Our main character, Bea has OCD along with the other kids in her support group.  Her love interest has OCD too.  It’s not pretty.  Haydu does a fantastic job of capturing anxiety on paper.  Bea is just that perfect amount of quirkiness that I like.  She’s got some SERIOUS issues but her character was a good balance of strong/flawed so I couldn’t get TOO mad at her when she was doing her compulsions.

If books with characters with mental illnesses aren’t your thing, I say skip it.  But really, just give it a try.  I really think more books need to be like this, especially in the young adult sector.

P.S- I really enjoy the cover.

Totally bingeworthy!

3.5 out of 5 stars.