“You can be Han Solo," he said, kissing her throat. "And I'll be Boba Fett. I'll cross the sky for you.”
Eleanor and Park first meet on the bus. Eleanor transferred late in the year, after everyone already claimed their seats. Nobody wants to give up their single seat, especially for a girl like her. She's tall and chubby, with big red hair and strange clothes. Eventually, after much hesitation, Park lets her sit next to him.
At first, they ignore each other. Park reads comic books, then he notices Eleanor reading over his shoulder. He starts to bring titles to read with her, and even lends her comics to read on her own. Eventually, they start talking about comics, music, and more. It's adorable stuff, stuff that made me laugh and feel all happy inside.
The book also deals with very unhappy subjects. As the book progresses, we find out about Eleanor's horrible stepfather. I won't get into too many details, but he was the reason that Eleanor moved away for a year. At school, she is being bullied. Her clothes are taken from her gym locker and someone writes crude things on her books. Park is hesitant to be with Eleanor because of the bullying, afraid to become a victim himself. In time, he only wants to be with her and he tries to get the other kids to back off, to varied success.
I love how Eleanor & Park is so different from a lot of YA fiction. I have seen a lot of manic pixie dream girls and Mary Sues (By which I mean Bella Swan), but not many with whom I can relate. A lot of the bullying and the trauma of the bus actually happened to me. I was, and still am, the chubby girl. Because of this, I fell in love with Eleanor & Park. It's two misfit teenagers falling in love over The Watchmen and The Cure. It's being in high school and falling in love and growing up and happy endings and sad goodbyes, all rolled up into a book, a book that you should definitely read.
I received my copy of Eleanor & Park from Edelweiss, courtesy of St. Martin's Press. It's available for purchase now.