"Eleanor & Park" was an unexpected touching read for me. Eleanor is a chubby red-head and Park is a half-Asian cool kid who loves comics and musics- and soon, Eleanor. They ride the bus to school together, and Park is intrigued by Eleanor, slowly trying to reach her. Eleanor holds most everyone at arms length. Her family is poor, and she has an abusive home life. Add to that the cruelty of teens, and she is bullied at school. When the cute boy starts reaching out to her, Eleanor is afraid to reach back.
Despite the 80s setting, this book felt timeless- a story that could reach across the ages. Eleanor and Park slowly begin to learn more about each other and fall in love. Considering all the bigger issues they have to deal with, the book ends up focusing on the relationship in the context of everything else going on. There were sections that were absolutely heart-breaking and others that just made me smile. This was a worthwhile read.
The ending is very open, and as a person who likes closure, this was not my favorite. However, the build up of the book was fantastic and their relationship was the sweetest. I also really loved Park's parents, who had a great role in the story. This is a really great and touching read for people who like YA romance!