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Eleanor & Park
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Archive: Other Books > Eleanor & Park / Rainbow Rowell - 3.5***

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5526 comments Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
3.5***

Eleanor is the new kid – and target – at school; she’s tall, chubby, has flaming red hair, and dresses in over-sized men’s clothes. Park is a quiet loner, who once dated the most popular (and meanest) girl, Tina, and still counts cool-kid Steve among his best friends, but who now prefers to listen to his music tapes and read comics. Eleanor winds up sitting next to Park on the bus and slowly they begin to notice the value in one another.

The book and I started out on the wrong foot due to the vulgarity of the language. Yes, I know that there are teens who speak like this, but must it be reinforced as “normal” behavior in the books we read? Okay – off my soapbox now, and I did get over that hurdle pretty quickly.

My heart broke for Eleanor, whose family life is abysmal. She and her four siblings share a single bedroom, in a tiny house. They are so lacking in resources that she doesn’t even have a toothbrush! Her stepfather Ritchie is an alcoholic with a foul mouth and an even fouler temper, who terrorizes everyone in the household. Eleanor, as many children living in such dire circumstances, does her best to cope and to hide what is really happening in the house from anyone who might actually be able to help her and her siblings. Her stress and frustration comes out in the way she treats Park, yet eventually she begins to think that maybe, just maybe, she can tell him the truth and he will still like her.

Park was a little too good to be true, and yet I really liked him. He may not be so odd as Eleanor, but he’s not exactly mainstream. He is half-Korean and just about the only Asian kid in his school. He dresses all in black, and sometimes helps his mother in her beauty shop. About the only thing that saves him from being picked on is the fact that he once dated Tina.

In the end, I can certainly see where the target audience would love it (as my niece did). But for me it’s just a little better than average.


Karin | 6877 comments I gave it 3 stars, just barely liking it. The language was only one of the things that brought it down for me.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8142 comments I've been thinking about this book for my thirteen year old son. He's not a reader, although he has really loved some of the sports themed books I have chosen for him. And Harry Potter. I'd love to try to get him to read this one. Do you think it might appeal to your average thirteen year old kid?


message 4: by annapi (last edited Jun 14, 2016 07:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

annapi | 4849 comments Amy wrote: "I've been thinking about this book for my thirteen year old son. He's not a reader, although he has really loved some of the sports themed books I have chosen for him. And Harry Potter. I'd love to..."

It's a very emotional book, so if your son is into that he will like it. You can check out my review if you want.


message 5: by Joi (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3774 comments I think I rated this 4 stars. I was happy to see a male Korean-American represented in YA fiction and be a "strong character". Even if he is a little 'unbelievable'.


message 6: by Cora (last edited Jun 14, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1283 comments Amy wrote: "I've been thinking about this book for my thirteen year old son. He's not a reader, although he has really loved some of the sports themed books I have chosen for him. And Harry Potter. I'd love to..."

Amy, my fourteen year old son just read Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick. He really liked it and has asked me to read it too. Its about a star high school baseball pitcher that gets injured and can no longer play.


message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8142 comments Annapi that was helpful! I think we will try it. We did actually start Curveball, but I abandoned it early because of the way the injury occurred. I don't want that image in my mind and I am careful not to impart it to him.he's sensitive. But I think he could greater handle the kind of emotional abuse that happens in E and P, then he could accidents, war, etc.... That's just my thought. But keep em coming. My kid has read every one of the Mike Lupica sports themed books. We ran out of those! Like me, he can't attend to fantasy well, so Rick Riordan hasn't yet worked, nor the Giver Quartet. Saving Hunger Games for later. We're still in Harry Potter 5.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5526 comments Amy wrote: "Annapi that was helpful! I think we will try it. We did actually start Curveball, but I abandoned it early because of the way the injury occurred. I don't want that image in my mind and I am carefu..."

Amy ... I suggest you read it first before you introduce it to your 13-year-old son. There is very sexually graphic, vulgar language, including very demeaning words used for female anatomy. You know your son, of course, and maybe this will be a platform for discussion.


annapi | 4849 comments Book Concierge wrote: "Amy ... I suggest you read it first before you introduce it to your 13-year-old son. There is very sexually graphic, vulgar language, including very demeaning words used for female anatomy. You know your son, of course, and maybe this will be a platform for discussion."

In that regard (as a platform for discussion), may I recommend a book that will help - For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health. Excellent material and my kids both said they wanted to attend Vernacchio's class (so did I!).


Jennifer P. Pope (jenjunum) | 902 comments I didn't read it with an eye for what's appropriate for teenagers but I didn't think it was vulgar. My daughter is only 8 though so maybe I was just in a different zone. Or I'm just not easily bothered by bad language?


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