AUTHOR = RAINBOW ROWELL
GENRE = FAMILIES, RELATIONSHIPS, SCHOOL, BULLYING, ROMANCE
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9+
This is a sad story as flagged from the opening page.
Park is afraid to be open about his feelings, so initially seems a bit angry with Eleanor. Eleanor seems gawky and awkward but as we follow their stories in alternating chapters, we see what hides beneath the veneer that they show the world.
Eleanor comes from a poor and brutal home where her step-father rules. He has only just allowed Eleanor to return home, after kicking her out a year ago. Her mother is afraid to stand up to her partner, so Eleanor and her siblings eat early (before he comes home) and cower whilst he shouts and their mother cries.
Eleanor’s newness and strange attire make her a target for the school bullies so school days are equally difficult for Eleanor; until Park slowly reaches out to her over a shared interest in comics and music. Gradually, their friendship blossoms, giving both of them inner strength. But does their love stand a chance when Eleanor’s brutish step-father is watching her every move… and when put to the test, will Eleanor and Park have the courage to take action .. even at a cost to their relationship?
This is a credible and moving story … although some readers may not like the ending?? Given the themes in the story, it is likely to suit more mature readers.
Recommended (dma) ****