Eleanor & Park

GAH. THIS BOOK. THIS. BOOK. Ergasmergh. Just. . .just ergasmergh. Really.

OK, collecting my thoughts, collecting my thoughts, gimme a sec. . .JUST ONE SEC. . .OK. I think I’ve got it. Let’s do this.

So, just a little while ago I started hearing really good things about this book. It’s currently being featured on Figment (a writing site for teenagers), and has gotten a ton of good reviews. (Including one from John Green, might I add.) So I decided to get it from the library and read it. (Plus, look at the cover art. That is some EPIC cover art.)

Eleanor & Park, written by the talented Rainbow Rowell, is the story of two sixteen-year-olds that meet one day in 1986. Eleanor has just moved to Omaha and needs a seat on the bus. Park is the only one who lets her sit down, very reluctantly so. Eleanor, well, she’s weird. You can tell. And Park, as one of the very few Asian kids in his entire school, already doesn’t fit in. And some chubby, oddly dressed redhead isn’t really going to make life easier for him. So he plugs in his Walkman and drowns everything out. Eleanor doesn’t talk to him, and he doesn’t talk to her.

Gradually, though, they do start to interact a bit. It starts with comics. It gains speed with music. And before you know it, they’re in love.

The one thing that really stuck with me about this book was the characters. Not just Eleanor and Park, but the others as well. Eleanor’s only other friends at school, DeNice and Beebi, are funny and extremely likable. The other kids on the bus, as well as the schoolteachers, are striking and unique. But Eleanor herself was probably my favorite character. In the second chapter, when she’s deciding to brave the bus and the merciless kids who tease her, and thinks, “Oh, fine. The children of hell shan’t go hungry on my watch,” I immediately thought, “I love her.” Her sarcastic comments are some of my favorite moments throughout the whole book. The things she and Park go through together are also amazing, and some of the things they say to each other might have made me actually stop reading and go, “Squueeeee!” Because they were–and are–that fabulous. And squee-inducing.

And though the ending might make you cry, or at the very least make you want to eat a whole tub of ice cream, reading this book is just so incredibly worth it. The main characters, though imperfect and not your oh-so-conventional pretty-girl and pretty-boy couple (which is great, because I wouldn’t like them nearly as much), will have you cheering for them the whole time. And their story is one that is entirely worth your time. So read it. Excuse me, I need to go eat some ice cream now.

Literary Quote of the Day: “‘The least boring Batman story ever, huh? Does Batman raise both his eyebrows?'” –Eleanor in Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

P.S. If you STILL aren’t totally convinced that you HAVE to read this book, take a look at John Green’s review in the New York Times.

Summer and Bird

Hello again! Happy December! The topic of today’s post is Summer and Bird, written by debut author Katherine Catmull. At the center of the story are two young girls, sisters, named (can you guess?) Summer and Bird. At first glance, the girls seem to live a fairly carefree life in the country with their parents. But let’s face it, life is never carefree, especially in novels. As the girls soon discover when they wake up one morning to find that both their mom and dad have disappeared overnight. Surprisingly, they do not take this opportunity to throw a huge party and wreck the house (guess they’re not old enough yet?). Instead, they set off on a search through the forest, but end up in quite a different place–the world of Down. Where lots of weird things happen. This book is full to bursting with fantastical imagery, and the adventures the girls go on are certainly creative. My only problem was that it wasn’t particularly gripping for me, but as far as books go, it’s definitely above the bar. Not one that especially sticks out, but it’s a good choice for fantasy lovers.

The Future of Us

Okay, let me just start off with this: I love the idea of this book. It’s 1996, and the Internet is just getting its start. Not everyone has computers. Google doesn’t exist yet. Neither does Bing. But when two teenagers log onto America Online for the first time, they discover something shocking–themselves on Facebook, 15 years in the future! (Come on, you have to admit that’s kind of cool.) Meet Emma Nelson and Josh Templeton–once best friends, but who have barely interacted at all since the events of last November. Emma’s got a new computer, and Josh has gotten a free CD-ROM in the mail. Little did they know what they would find once they booted it up. As they grapple with coming to terms with who they end up marrying, or where they’re living, or whether they should even believe it at all, they begin to discover that even the slightest change in their present can alter their future. And the future is not something you take lightly. And while trying to figure out how destiny works, they’re also starting to wonder, more than ever, if their friendship will ever be the same again. This book is a collaboration between Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher, and it’s a really solid read. Like, really solid. Okay, fine–I couldn’t put it down for most of the time I was reading it. As I said before, I love the originality and the potential of the idea, and the writing’s the icing on the cake. So I definitely recommend you go get it from the library! (Soon.)