When I was itching for a teen romance to read (don’t lie, it happens to you too) I snagged Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell off the shelf for one reason only, it is set in Omaha, Nebraska in the 1980’s.
I spent my entire elementary school career in the cornhusker state, spending days biking through the suburbs and always fearing the looming possibilities of tornados. It might have been the nostalgia for my old state, or even the fact that my best friend growing up had an enviable mane of red hair like the heroine Eleanor that drew me to the book. It was a good find, and I am glad I went for the Collector’s Edition which includes some incredible fan art on the inside cover.
I loved this throwback teen romance. Eleanor & Park have a relationship that is intertwined with mix tapes, comic books, and bus rides. Back when a private telephone call was a special and rare moment in a relationship and if it didn’t happen, you had wait until school the next day to talk find out what the other person was thinking. No texting or Instagram. They have all the suspense of waiting that we miss out on now in the form of instant everything.
“You’re the kind of person I want to be with when I want to be alone”
-Rainbow Rowell Eleanor & Park
Don’t get the idea that it’s a shallow teen romance, though. It’s not. They are both beautifully complicated people. Their growing romance feels both painful and tender, full of all the awkwardness a teen romance should have. This book has a huge fan base and I can see why.
I hope with all of my being that Rainbow Rowell writes the sequel she has been hinting at. The ending certainly deserves one.