Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February, 2013
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Young Adult Novel
"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 sixteen."
"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, ELEANOR AND PARK 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.
What I Think: I love love stories. I just love them. Not all love stories are able to climb in and hunker down in my heart but Eleanor & Park definitely did. Rainbow Rowell does an amazing job of bringing these two teenagers alive and together. Her descriptions are like a lovely sigh. Her prose is as quiet and sweet as the cover is. There's more to Eleanor and Park's wonderful story though, Eleanor's family situation doesn't make things easy for her or her relationship with Park. I wish I knew what else to say! It's just a beautiful story about first love and like the summary says, you'll remember your own first love.
In terms of a mentor text, Rainbow's description is eloquent and beautiful. There are so many wonderful descriptions but I pulled out one snatch of text that shows an example of similes. The book also goes back and forth between Eleanor and Park's perspectives and readers can see each of their points of view. More than anything, I love this book for the characters and how Rainbow lets us into their hearts to follow along on their story. By showing both perspectives, we see how Eleanor sees Park and how Park sees Eleanor and for this reason, it seems like this decision lets us see Eleanor and Park differently from how they see themselves. When we see how Eleanor sees herself but also how Park sees her and vice versa, we see how much they love each other. This would make such an excellent topic of discussion for students. How does the point of view factor in here? But more importantly, how do our perceptions of ourselves differ from how others perceive us? What a thought-provoking question to pose to adolescents!
Read Together: Grades 9 - 12
Read Alone: Grades 9 - 12
Read With: Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and The Boyfriend List (series) by E. Lockhart.
Snatch of Text: "Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive." -Park (p. 71)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Inferences, Visualizing,
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Descriptive, Simile
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you did something that scared you or something that your parents wouldn't approve of.
Topics Covered: Love, Friendship, Relationships, Loyalty, Anxiety, Diversity, Courage, Self-Esteem
I *heart* It: