|Eleanor and Park|
By Rainbow Rowell
Everyone sits on the bus, one person to a seat and nobody changes seats, nobody moves to let someone else sit down. That's the unspoken rules of the bus.
Eleanor gets on the bus that first day at her new school and knows the rules, but she also knows she has to sit somewhere, the bus driver keeps telling her to.
Park sits on the bus, he knows the rules, he is a pro at keeping his head down so Steve doesn't target him in his put downs. Just ignore her, Park thinks. But he can't ignore Eleanor.
Thus begins their friendship that spans one school year. Park sees something in Eleanor that she doesn't see in herself. Living in an abusive situation, Eleanor doesn't believe she is worthy of much, and just tries to make it through the day. Park begins sharing his comics with Eleanor and then mix tapes of music they both like. They begin to hang out more and more and their friendship blossoms into first love.
Park protects Eleanor, but in his quiet unassuming manner, well, except for that time he martial arts kicked Steve at the bus! As Eleanor's home life becomes dangerous to the point that Eleanor needs to escape, Park devises a plan to get her to safety.
Throughout this book, I was hoping things could change for Eleanor, that she could escape her home situation or someone would see her struggles and at least buy her a toothbrush. I am glad she had Park for a friend and loved the hopeful ending.
There are many themes in this book, friendship (sometimes found in unexpected places), domestic violence, bullying, and body image, all of which are written about so well. It reminds you of what it is like to be young and in love, a must read for the young adult and adult seeker of realistic fiction.