Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor is the new kid in school, awkward with bright red, curly hair and dresses like a hobo. Park is the quiet Asian kid in the back of the bus, always wears black, reads comics and loves music. The two quietly build up a friendship as they ride on the bus together and inevitably fall in love.
Eleanor & Park is a 'first love' story coloured by the contrast between Eleanors volatile home situation and Parks near-perfect family. I think anyone who spent their teenage years interested in things other than going out and mainstream fashion will be able to relate to the two main characters. Both Eleanor and Park are very believable which is due to Rowells subtle writing style. The chapters switch between Parks and Eleanors perspective, allowing the reader to experience the story from both sides. I found this so effective because it really endeared the two characters to me, rather than feeling I should be picking a favourite to side with during the struggles they encounter.
I love Rainbow Rowells writing, she keeps the story small and intimate and I can't help but feel she's writing from experience as the characters thoughts are so realistic and intricate. Eleanor and Park is one of those books that gives awkward (ex-)teenagers a place to feel like they belong. It has obviously struck a chord with its readers as is evident by the huge amount of stunning fan art that is put on the Web. I highly recommend checking this incredibly moving and sweet story out. You can follow the author on Twitter: @rainbowrowell.
Painting from siminiblocker.tumblr.com