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.

The Fault in Our Stars

Okay, so I know I mentioned this in my last post, but I just loved it SO MUCH that I feel it deserves a review of its own. Plus, I just finished another book by the author, the incredibly awesome John Green, and then was reminded of this book, and one thing led to another, and POOF! New post.

This book is titled The Fault in Our Stars, and tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old cancer patient who spends most of her time inside rereading (and rereading and rereading and rereading) the same book over and over. That, and watching episodes of America’s Next Top Model. Until her mother convinces (or forces) her to start attending a cancer kids support group. It is at one of these meetings that Hazel makes the acquaintance of Augustus Waters, a  former osteosarcoma patient who immediately starts hanging out with her. And–

Okay, here’s the thing I’ve realized about this book: It’s an amazing book. It really is. And it is also a ginormous pain to describe. Like, I could write “And Hazel and Augustus embarked on a long journey of self discovery” or something equally formal, but that wouldn’t really fit in with the rest of the post, now would it? Basically, this story of Hazel and Augustus has a lot of stuff in it, like big ideas and champagne and romance and epicness and all that jazz that makes it so awesome and sad and thought-provoking. It’s a really good book. I love the writing, the story, and the characters (particularly the character’s names–John Green is a genius with names), and I think that other people would, too. It is totally worth a read. So go. Get it. Now.

Divergent

Okay, I know that there’s been a lot of buzz about this book lately, but I just couldn’t resist putting in my two cents after I read it. At first, I have to admit I was worried. After hearing all the good stuff about Divergent (by Veronica Roth) the last thing I wanted was to be disappointed because I had my hopes up too high. (Besides, when you buy the book with your own money, you kinda want it to be worth it.) I shouldn’t have been worried. Really. I love this book! Not only are the plot and characters great, but the actual writing isn’t too shabby, either. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Ahem. Beatrice is part of the faction Abnegation, as is the rest of her family, in what used to be Chicago, Illinois. But she may not have to be Abnegation for long. In just a little while, all the sixteen-year-olds in the five factions will be tested, to find out what faction they are most compatible with. And the day after the testing, they will choose which faction they will officially become a part of. But Beatrice’s results are more than she bargained for. She’s Divergent–meaning she belongs in more than one faction. And that’s the just the start of it. After she chooses–donning a new life, new friends, and even a new name–things only get more suspicious. Could it be her once perfectly-safe life isn’t all that it seems? (Well, duh.) As I said before, this book is great. And I’m sorry if this sounds redundant because of all the reviews and stuff you’ve already heard, but as I also said before, I had to say my piece. So, if you haven’t done it already, you just have to go to the nearest library/bookstore/whatever and get this book!

The Wild Queen

Well, I suppose it’s high time for another post, isn’t it? And, luckily, I just finished a book that is definitely post-worthy. The Wild Queen, Carolyn Meyer‘s newest installment in her Young Royals series, details the life of Mary Stuart, famed Queen of Scots. Six days into her life, Mary Stuart is declared queen after the death of her father. Only several years later she’s packed up and shipped off to live with her betrothed, the dauphin of France, Francois, and his family, only to return to Scotland later in life after his death. The book follows Mary over the years, through three marriages, civil war, giving birth to a son, and a whole lot of danger, as well as an ongoing stalemate between her and Elizabeth Tudor considering a certain treaty(believe me, it’s more interesting than that last bit made it sound). And as said danger escalates, leading to Mary being accused for conspiring for the murder of Elizabeth, it leads to her inevitable end. This book is extremely well-written, and the plot keeps you sucked in to no end. What I love about these books is that they’re not history lessons–they make the main characters, whether they’re Cleopatra or Elizabeth Tudor, come to life and seem incredibly real. The Wild Queen is no exception. So I strongly suggest you go pick it up from the nearest library, bookstore, etc. Now.