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Eleanor and Park

by

Eleanor and Park Cover

ISBN13: 9781250012579
ISBN10: 1250012570
All Product Details

 

 

Excerpt

1

 

park

 

 

XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.

Park pressed his headphones into his ears.

Tomorrow he was going to bring Skinny Puppy or the Misfits. Or maybe hed make a special bus tape with as much screaming and wailing on it as possible.

He could get back to New Wave in November, after he got his drivers license. His parents had already said Park could have his moms Impala, and hed been saving up for a new tape deck. Once he started driving to school, he could listen to whatever he wanted or nothing at all, and hed get to sleep in an extra twenty minutes.

“That doesnt exist!” somebody shouted behind him.

“It so fucking does!” Steve shouted back. “Drunken Monkey style, man, its a real fucking thing. You can kill somebody with it.…”

“Youre full of shit.”

Youre full of shit,” Steve said. “Park! Hey, Park.”

Park heard him, but didnt answer. Sometimes, if you ignored Steve for a minute, he moved on to someone else. Knowing that was 80 percent of surviving with Steve as your neighbor. The other 20 percent was just keeping your head down.…

Which Park had momentarily forgotten. A ball of paper hit him in the back of the head.

“Those were my Human Growth and Development notes, dicklick,” Tina said.

“Im sorry, baby,” Steve said. “Ill teach you all about human growth and development—what do you need to know?”

“Teach her Drunken Monkey style,” somebody said.

“Park!” Steve shouted.

Park pulled down his headphones and turned to the back of the bus. Steve was holding court in the last seat. Even sitting, his head practically touched the roof. Steve always looked like he was surrounded by doll furniture. Hed looked like a grown man since the seventh grade, and that was before he grew a full beard. Slightly before.

Sometimes Park wondered if Steve was with Tina because she made him look even more like a monster. Most of the girls from the Flats were small, but Tina couldnt be five feet. Massive hair included.

Once, back in middle school, some guy had tried to give Steve shit about how he better not get Tina pregnant because if he did, his giant babies would kill her. “Theyll bust out of her stomach like in Aliens,” the guy said. Steve broke his little finger on the guys face.

When Parks dad heard, he said, “Somebody needs to teach that Murphy kid how to make a fist.” But Park hoped nobody would. The guy who Steve hit couldnt open his eyes for a week.

Park tossed Tina her balled-up homework. She caught it.

“Park,” Steve said, “tell Mikey about Drunken Monkey karate.”

“I dont know anything about it.” Park shrugged.

“But it exists, right?”

“I guess Ive heard of it.”

“There,” Steve said. He looked for something to throw at Mikey, but couldnt find anything. He pointed instead. “I fucking told you.”

“What the fuck does Sheridan know about kung fu?” Mikey said.

“Are you retarded?” Steve said. “His moms Chinese.”

Mikey looked at Park carefully. Park smiled and narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, I guess I see it,” Mikey said. “I always thought you were Mexican.”

“Shit, Mikey,” Steve said, “youre such a fucking racist.”

“Shes not Chinese,” Tina said. “Shes Korean.”

“Who is?” Steve asked.

“Parks mom.”

Parks mom had been cutting Tinas hair since grade school. They both had the exact same hairstyle: long spiral perms with tall feathered bangs.

“Shes fucking hot is what she is,” Steve said, cracking himself up. “No offense, Park.”

Park managed another smile and slunk back into his seat, putting his headphones back on and cranking up the volume. He could still hear Steve and Mikey, four seats behind him.

“But whats the fucking point?” Mikey asked.

“Dude, would you want to fight a drunk monkey? Theyre fucking huge. Like Every Which Way But Loose, man. Imagine that bastard losing his shit on you.”

Park noticed the new girl at about the same time everybody else did. She was standing at the front of the bus, next to the first available seat.

There was a kid sitting there by himself, a freshman. He put his bag down on the seat beside him, then looked the other way. All down the aisle, anybody who was sitting alone moved to the edge of their seats. Park heard Tina snicker; she lived for this stuff.

The new girl took a deep breath and stepped farther down the aisle. Nobody would look at her. Park tried not to, but it was kind of a train wreck/eclipse situation.

The girl just looked like exactly the sort of person this would happen to.

Not just new—but big and awkward. With crazy hair, bright red on top of curly. And she was dressed like … like she wanted people to look at her. Or maybe like she didnt get what a mess she was. She had on a plaid shirt, a mans shirt, with half a dozen weird necklaces hanging around her neck and scarves wrapped around her wrists. She reminded Park of a scarecrow or one of the trouble dolls his mom kept on her dresser. Like something that wouldnt survive in the wild.

The bus stopped again, and a bunch more kids got on. They pushed past the girl, knocking into her, and dropped into their own seats.

That was the thing—everybody on the bus already had a seat. Theyd all claimed one on the first day of school. People like Park, who were lucky enough to have a whole seat to themselves, werent going to give that up now. Especially not for someone like this.

Park looked back up at the girl. She was just standing there.

“Hey, you,” the bus driver yelled, “sit down!”

The girl started moving toward the back of the bus. Right into the belly of the beast. God, Park thought, stop. Turn around. He could feel Steve and Mikey licking their chops as she got closer. He tried again to look away.

Then the girl spotted an empty seat just across from Park. Her face lit with relief, and she hurried toward it.

“Hey,” Tina said sharply.

The girl kept moving.

“Hey,” Tina said, “Bozo.”

Steve started laughing. His friends fell in a few seconds behind him.

“You cant sit there,” Tina said. “Thats Mikaylas seat.”

The girl stopped and looked up at Tina, then looked back at the empty seat.

“Sit down,” the driver bellowed from the front.

“I have to sit somewhere,” the girl said to Tina in a firm, calm voice.

“Not my problem,” Tina snapped. The bus lurched, and the girl rocked back to keep from falling. Park tried to turn the volume up on his Walkman, but it was already all the way up. He looked back at the girl; it looked like she was starting to cry.

Before hed even decided to do it, Park scooted toward the window.

“Sit down,” he said. It came out angrily. The girl turned to him, like she couldnt tell whether he was another jerk or what. “Jesus-fuck,” Park said softly, nodding to the space next to him, “just sit down.

The girl sat down. She didnt say anything—thank God, she didnt thank him—and she left six inches of space on the seat between them.

Park turned toward the Plexiglas window and waited for a world of suck to hit the fan.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Rainbow Rowell

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

iheartbooksbooks, April 29, 2014 (view all comments by iheartbooksbooks)
“Don’t bite his face, Eleanor told herself. It’s disturbing and needy and never happens in situation comedies or movies that end with big kisses.”

Swoon. Swoon. Swoon. This book was amazing. Eleanor & Park centers around two misfits trying to get through high school in the year 1986 but gradually fall in love. It all begins when new girl, Eleanor, steps onto the school bus and takes a sit next to Park. This isn’t instant love; disgust, anger, and judgment hinder communication and attraction. It isn’t until a comic book is brought onto the bus that things start to turn. Comic book reading, music listening, and finally small talking takes the two to another world and brings them closer. Park and Eleanor would rather think about each other, but at times their home life tears them apart. It’s clear from the beginning that both protagonists are imperfect but together they are perfection. Eleanor and Park are so real. The emotions they convey become your emotions. You love them as characters, but you love them more when they’re together. This is no ordinary romance; it will have you smiling stupidly, crying uncontrollably, and more than anything warming your heart. I haven’t read a book that was so realistic, so lovable, and so heartbreaking, all at the same time.
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Beverly B, March 28, 2014 (view all comments by Beverly B)
I doubted that Eleanor and Park could live up to its rave reviews, but it did. It has been described as a modern day Romeo and Juliet, but I think it is more of an updated The Outsiders. Eleanor is stuck in a horribly poor, horror of a home. She is also a white newcomer in a mostly black high school. She tries to hide her poverty by making it look like she is wearing tattered ill-fitting clothes on purpose. Park is also a misfit. He is a middle class, artistic "mixed" Asian among the mostly blue color sports and party centered student body. He does not like Eleanor for a long time, but when his friends start to harass her, he feels sorry for her. He sort of adopts her just to reduce the amount of belittling she has to endure. Their romance blooms when he introduces her to super hero comic books and punk rock. Eleanor is not an easy person to love. She is so guarded and fearful, she can barely have a normal conversation, but she appreciates Park's optimism and confidence. She also loves being in his normal home with his normal parents. When she needs him most, Park, and his parents, are there for her even though Park knows it means he may never see Eleanor again.
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Joel Karpowitz, January 26, 2014 (view all comments by Joel Karpowitz)
I devoured this book like Saturday morning breakfast cereal.

Rainbow Rowell captures about as perfectly as I could hope that feeling of teenage love--the consuming, overwhelming, enveloping feeling of wanting and needing and feeling hungry to consume another person that anyone who had a relationship that mattered to them in high school is sure to recognize.

And in Eleanor and Park, she creates the kind of misfits that so many teenagers can identify with. Not so much the idealized wunderkind who other YA writers celebrate, but the mostly average kid who is passionate about a few things and lost about a lot of things and feels broken much of the time and doesn't know she (or he) needs someone who helps her (or him) feel found. Kids who love music and comic books and are smart, but they're not savants, and they're not about to change the world or save the world, because they're just trying to survive. Because sometimes high school can be the loneliest place on the planet.

And then someone says something like, "You can be Han Solo. And I'll be Boba Fett. I'll cross the sky for you." And if your little heart doesn't melt a little at that, then you're not the kind of person I probably have much in common with, because damn, that's fantastic. And that's just the tip of the iceberg for Rowell's millions of metaphors about trying to capture that feeling of love.

There is drama here. One of the two lives in a hellacious and abusive home. Teenage cruelty, and parents who don't understand, and figuring out how to get time alone. All that drama is here, and more.

But at heart, it's about being an outsider, and finding someone who makes you feel like you're a part of the only inside circle that matters.

I loved it.


(PS: On Spotify Rowell has listed a killer soundtrack to the novel. A mixtape from Rowell to us--a kind of "Best Of" of Park's mixes for Eleanor. It's fantastic.)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781250012579
Author:
Rowell, Rainbow
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin
Subject:
Love & Romance
Subject:
Children s-General
Edition Description:
Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date:
20140204
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
from 13 up to 18

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Eleanor and Park New Hardcover
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$18.99 In Stock
Product details 320 pages St. Martin's Griffin - English 9781250012579 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This is the perfect teen romance. Set in 1986, the characters bond over mixtapes, comic books, and feeling like outsiders. Both sad and hopeful, this is my favorite book of the year. I've been recommending it to all of my YA-reading friends.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Last year, The Fault in Our Stars was my number one book for this list. So, when John Green gave a glowing blurb for Eleanor and Park, I decided to read it — and I'm glad I did. It's wonderful. Even better than The Fault in Our Stars. It's like a punch to the gut and the sweetest, softest kiss on the lips... and you're going to love every minute of it. Prepare to be all swoony inside.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Billie told me this book would break my heart, and still I went like a lamb to the slaughter. Eleanor and Park is bittersweet and lovely. It's like your favorite song and your first kiss mixed together. You will want to keep it forever in that special place in your heart.

"Staff Pick" by ,

This is the story of two young people scraping against the walls of life as they know it and pushing together to escape everybody's narrow definitions of what it means to be them, sometimes losing that strength, and sometimes discovering it in heartbreaking ways. It's a tactile story, an emotional story, and kind of the most bittersweet thing in the whole world. It also feels real as hell, which makes it all the more gripping. Immediately after finishing the last page of Eleanor and Park, I went back and reread the final chapter, spent some time drying my eyes, and then proceeded to tell as many people about it as possible.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Half-Korean sophomore Park Sheridan is getting through high school by lying low, listening to the Smiths (it's 1986), reading Alan Moore's Watchmen comics, never raising his hand in class, and avoiding the kids he grew up with. Then new girl Eleanor gets on the bus. Tall, with bright red hair and a dress code all her own, she's an instant target. Too nice not to let her sit next to him, Park is alternately resentful and guilty for not being kinder to her. When he realizes she's reading his comics over his shoulder, a silent friendship is born. And slowly, tantalizingly, something more. Adult author Rowell (Attachments), making her YA debut, has a gift for showing what Eleanor and Park, who tell the story in alternating segments, like and admire about each other. Their love is believable and thrilling, but it isn't simple: Eleanor's family is broke, and her stepfather abuses her mother. When the situation turns dangerous, Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution — imperfect but believable — maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark. Ages 13 – up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “Funny, hopeful, foulmouthed, sexy, and tear-jerking, this winning romance will captivate teen and adult readers alike.”
"Review" by , Eleanor & Park is a breathless, achingly good read about love and outsiders.” Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door
"Review" by , “The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship Eleanor and Park develop is urgent and breathtaking and, of course, heartbreaking, too.”
"Review" by , “Sweet, gritty, and affecting...Rainbow Rowell has written an unforgettable story about two misfits in love. This debut will find its way into your heart and stay there.”
"Review" by , “In her rare and surprising exploration of young misfit love, Rowell shows us the beauty in the broken.”
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