Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor...never to Eleanor.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. The fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.
Full disclosure: I'm not normally a romance girl. I like romantic films, but in books (especially YA) mushy feelings and relationships are giant turn off for me. But I liked Eleanor & Park. A lot. Lovely, honest and well written; Rainbow Rowell portrayed a relationship that I could believe in.
The main fact that totally won me over? There's no love at first sight. Hooray! Instead Rowell showcases Park and Eleanor's transition from strangers, to best friends, and onwards in a fantastic way, ensuring that I would, too, find reasons to fall in love as they did.
I'm going to keep this short, as my words can not convey how cute, quirky and heart-warming this story is. Get a copy and find out for yourself. Then come back and discuss how the 80's is a perfect time to set a romance book with me!