caren reads.

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell This book was everything I've been searching for since Anna and the French Kiss. It gave me that melty, clenchy feeling in my chest, the warm fuzzies in my stomach. I was basically a mess throughout the entire thing. These two characters had my emotions going up and down like someone was beating on them with one of those sledgehammers at a carnival, trying to get them to climb to the top of that lit up pole again and again. And every time I thought they couldn't go any higher, Park would do or say something else that sent me flying up, up, up...In this book, it's 1986 and Eleanor's life isn't easy. She's one of five children to a mother who's married to a grade-A jerkface, and a father who just doesn't seem to care at all. After being kicked out of her mom's house once, she's back home now, crammed into a tiny bedroom with her four siblings, and stuck using a bathroom that doesn't even have a door. Her family doesn't have a lot of money. She doesn't even have shampoo. But she's tough, because she's learned how to be. She doesn't really have any other choice.On her first day of school, it's Park who--somewhat grudgingly--shares his seat on the bus with her. Which is just the beginning of what becomes an incredible story of first love. After sitting on the bus together day after day, they bond over comic books and mix tapes and kicks to the face and even makeup. He says things like this to her:He set his forehead against hers. She didn’t know what to do with her eyes or her hands. “Nothing before you counts,” he said. “And I can’t even imagine an after.”AND THIS:“You can be Han Solo,” he said, kissing her throat. “And I’ll be Boba Fett. I’ll cross the sky for you.”GAH. I cannot with him. Can. Not. He's definitely top-five-book-boy material. I don't think I've ever flailed so hard over a simple hand holding scene, but damnit, I did. Again with the sledgehammers.Sadly, as Park and Eleanor learn the hard way, sometimes not all first loves are meant to be forever loves... or are they? ;)The end of this book left me in tears. Like, legit streaming down my face, stuttering, had to get up and leave the room so my husband wouldn't think I was crazy, tears. Any book that can do that usually goes straight to my favorites pile, but I'll admit, I knocked this one down a star because this ending--though it made sense--was...kind of unfulfilling. I wanted more! Just a little bit. I wanted her to CALL HIM. I wanted her to write him back! I just wanted more. Just a teensy, tiny, little bit. Open ended endings aren't my favorite, and though what I'm left with tells me I can picture a happy ending for these two kids...I still question whether or not it actually happened if the author doesn't tell me herself. I need it spelled out, okay? I don't like wondering! Basically, it was a bit of a disappointment after all my happy-swoony-puddly feelings from the beginning. BUT... I almost don't even mind because I loved the rest so much.Full review:

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