Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2013
My Source: Amazon for Kindle
I skipped this book when it first came out because it is YA and I don't tend to read YA, but I heard so many good things about this book and I enjoyed Attachments, also by Rowell, so I gave this one a try. I am so glad that I did!
It is a story about first love between two teenagers over the course of a school year in 1986. Eleanor is the new girl at school and sits with Park on her first day on the school bus and everyday after that. They don't speak, but one day Park notices that she is looking over his shoulder reading his X-Men comic books. He starts to move them closer to her and then brings in more comics for her to read at home. Park finally speaks to Eleanor when he sees handwritten song lyrics on her book cover and finds out she has never listened to The Smiths. He goes home that day and makes her the first of many mixed tapes. Slowly they form a friendship around their shared love for comic books and music, which then turns into a love for each other.
This novel beautifully captures the essence of being an insecure self-conscious adolescent experiencing love for the first time. Unlike other books of teenage love which are written only from the perspective of one of the main characters, this story is told from the perspectives of both main characters through short alternating chapters dominated by engaging dialog.
Eleanor and Park are adorable, likeable characters with strengths and weaknesses everyone can relate to. I found myself rooting for them the whole way through. The story is a quick read and once I started I couldn't put it down.
I would recommend this book to young adults both experiencing or yearning for first love, and "old" adults who are young at heart reminiscing about first love from the past.
Rating: 5 out of 5 totally awesome high fives
Bonus: In 2014 DreamWorks purchased the rights to turn the book into a movie, however it was supposed to have been completed by now.
Here is a link to a blog post by @wildfirecharm discussing what she thinks would be a fitting potential soundtrack if the movie version of the story is produced. Brilliant idea!