Let’s Read: Eleanor and Park

Megan Grams, sports reporter

Eleanor and Park, written by Rainbow Rowell, is a teen romance novel that leaves readers blown away with its intriguing plot. Eleanor and Park are two sixteen-year-olds who meet when they sit together on a school bus in 1980. The two teens could be described as polar opposites. Eleanor is the new girl in town, with crazy red hair and an easy target for school bullies. Park is a quiet boy who tries to avoid bringing any attention towards himself, that is until Eleanor walked onto the school bus. Once the two teens begin to talk to each other, the novel is propelled into a story of a first love.
Eleanor comes from a very dysfunctional family. After Eleanor’s father left her and her siblings, they moved from house to house as their mother remarried. Additionally, her stepfather is a ruthless man who will stop at nothing to get rid of Eleanor and her siblings. Because of this, Eleanor has become an introvert, but this does not stop her true personality from shining through. She is seen to have a skeptical personality, but deep down she knows she truly loves Park.
Although Park may have a more stable at-home life, he still struggles for acceptance from his father. However, after years of trying, Park stays true to himself despite what his father’s expectations for him may be. Park’s persistence speaks volumes for his personality, especially when it comes to keeping his relationship with Eleanor.
Park and Eleanor sit in silence for most of their bus rides, but, when the two find that they have more in common than what meets the eye. The two both have the same music taste, which leads to them sharing songs with each other and eventually exchanging mixtapes with one another. Throughout the novel Eleanor and Park connect on a deeper level and fall in love.
Rainbow Rowell did not just write a typical love story, though. Rowell includes many issues that high schoolers may have experienced such as bullying, discrimination, and domestic violence. This romance novel has twist at the end. Unfortunately, the star-crossed lovers part because of Eleanor’s step father. When her step father found out about Eleanor and Park he begins threatening Eleanor. This leads Eleanor to run away and, with Park’s understanding parents, they allow Park to drive Eleanor to her uncle’s house in Minnesota.
Although Park writes several letters, Eleanor can not bring herself to write back. After six months of painful silence from Eleanor’s side, Park finally receives a postcard from her. The postcard has three words written on it. The real question remains: what did she say?

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