EleanorPark_cover2-300x450Title:  Eleanor and Park                                                                    Author:  Rainbow Rowell                                                           Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin                                               Publication Date: 02/26/2013                                                      Format: hardcover, 336 pages                                                                 Genre: defies classification 

Rating:    When you evaluate other people’s creative work for fun, there is a time to confess your personal biases, and this may be it for me.  I am an unashamed fan of the Cure, the Smiths and the X-Men.  I am also a sucker for sappy, unexpected true love.  I was in middle school in the late 1980’s, when everything the high school kids on the bus liked seem unattainably cool. This book fufills  all my expectations in popular entertainment, in a way that hasn’t happened since Pretty in Pink.  I am so infatuated with it, it’s a 6 out of 5.  Even if you don’t like anything about 1986, it’s a great book and will only take you a couple of hours.  Everyone should read it.

Overview (reprinted from IndieBound.Org):

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

Review:  Thank you Rainbow Rowell, for an unapologetically sentimental look at teen love and pop culture in 1986.  This book is a perfect memory of love, when we had reputations not facebook pages.  When you had to miss each other, because there were real reasons you couldn’t see each other or talk.  When being on the phone for two hours was a big deal.  When you had to wait and wish and hope that someone would call/show up on their bike/be at work/hang out at the bus stop.  When your friends cared who you went with, and said so.

The characters are compelling and the writing is easy.  If the setting entertains you, you won’t be disappointed.  Thanks to Kate over at ExLibris for this recommendation.