Natasha Lavender 13 April 2012 - 9:34am
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is delightful and devastating, an unconventional story tells of misfits, Joy Division and true love.
With her wild red curls and eccentric dress sense, new girl Eleanor is labelled as an outcast the moment she steps onto the school bus. Excluded by everyone, she is forced to sit next to the weird guy with the comic books and the cool shoes. Untouched by the bullies and yet not one of them, Park is an outsider who loves Watchmen and The Smiths and knows how to avoid trouble. hen an awkward truce forms between Eleanor and Park, they find themselves drawn together by X-Men, mixed tapes and batteries. What follows is a weird, wonderful and moving love story between two misfits who reject convention and find each other.
Rowell brings Eleanor and Park to life through careful details and references as diverse as Miami Vice and The Cure. She draws the two main characters particularly beautifully, allowing them to stand both as individuals and as a couple.
Lonely Eleanor is soon stuck between a dangerous stepfather and her love for Park, who is struggling with the expectations of a macho father disappointed by his son.
However, while the backgrounds and supporting characters are compelling, the love story is the heart; Rowell astutely captures the intensity of teenage romance without sacrificing sincerity or humour.
By turns witty, warm and heart-wrenching, Eleanor and Park will appeal to teenagers, adults and outsiders alike.