I have to thank my sweet friend, Alison, for pushing Eleanor & Park on me, because I had heard of this book before; however, it always stayed put on my Amazon Wish List. I don't really know why, but I'm sure it has something to do with these three ideas:
a. Not wanting to read what everyone everyone else is reading
b. Not wanting to read Young Adult because, you know, I'm twenty-two and really mature now. Yeah
c. Not wanting to be jealous of how amazing Rainbow Rowell is and how I'm a potato
My conversation with Ali went something like this:
Ali: OMG, have you heard about Eleanor & Park?
Me: Uh, yeah. I think so. I've been meaning to read it.
Ali: OH MY GOD, ALEX. YOU HAVE TO READ IT. HAVE YOU BOUGHT IT?
Ali: DON'T. Because I'm going to buy it for you.
And then I ruined everything by going to Barnes&Noble and buying the book on my own. that. day. Now, I'm sure you think I'm a horrible friend; however, it was a SIGNED copy. I knew if Alison was telling me this book was AMAZEBALLS then it probably was and I needed to have a signed copy.
This book was AMAZEBALLS.
And not because the plot was so wonderfully twisted and not because I've never read a love story so pure and not because everyone is freaking talking about it. The writing. It's the writing that made me want to hold this book to my chest and somehow pull it into my pores. I cannot say enough about Rainbow Rowell's writing, so I'm not going to. I'm just going to talk about three of my favorite sentences:
"She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something."
A year ago or so I was scrolling through Pinterest when I actually almost threw up from happiness. I found this quote, but I had no idea that it was from Eleanor & Park at the time, and I remember posting it somewhere because I thought it was so beautiful. And of course I turn the page yesterday and there it is again, and I just put my head in my book. Eleanor is amazing, and she is amazing because she feels real. There are times when I don't believe anything anyone is telling me, and I appreciate a character who doesn't wallow in self-pity and doesn't glorify herself as a hero. She's just so perfect in so many ways, and this sentence is so perfect in so many ways because it actually makes me feels something when I read it, and I've read it A LOT. And I will hang it on my wall one day.
"I'm sorry about yesterday," she said.
He hung on to his straps and shrugged. "Yesterday happens."
THIS. I really suck at holding on to things that make me feel bad, and so I love when Park says, "yesterday happens." It's everything everyone needs to hear, because yesterday always happens. We always say things we don't mean to say, and it's so nice to remember that being stupid in front of John one day doesn't mean the rest of the week has to suck. He's so good at moving on from things, and I love swinging from my anger like George of the Jungle.
"And when Eleanor smiled, something broke inside of him. Something always did."
I just love Park, and I love how true he is. I love that this story isn't about being in love the moment you see someone. I like how the characters take their time talking to one another, because it used to seem like no one in my classes really started talking to one another until the last two weeks of school. This sentence makes me smile because of the simplicity of it, because the word broke is so elegantly placed here. And because I am just in love with everything Park says.
This book means so much to me now, and it's heart-wrenching and lovely at the same time, and it's worth reading over and over.
I hope that you won't not read it because you're afraid you're too old, and I hope that you don't read it just because everyone else is. I hope you read it because of the words, and I hope you love it because of how well they are put together.