One extraordinary love.
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
I knew I was going to love this book when I found this scene. Park and his friend are in class, assigned with comparing and contrasting two of Shakespeare’s greatest heroines, Juliet and Ophelia.
“Eric said something else, and Eleanor frowned again. Then she looked over at Park – and stopped frowning. Park smiled.
“‘One minute,’ Mr. Stressman said.
“‘Crap,’ Call said. ‘What have we got… Ophelia was bonkers, right? And Juliet was what, a sixth-grader?'” (pg 63).
Aside from the (astoundingly concise) observations of some of my favorite characters, this quote epitomizes Rowell’s narrative. There’s a quiet friendliness in her work that sneaks up on you, grabs you when you aren’t paying attention, and steals at your heart. Eleanor & Park made me laugh, cry a little, and miss those beginning moments of falling in love.