Eleanor is the new girl, big, red-haired, dressed with a defiantly grungy lack of style, and a perfect target for ridicule and harassment in half-Korean sophomore Park's Omaha, Neb., high school. Park doesn't even want the weirdo sitting by him on the bus. But no one else will share a seat with Eleanor, so he--a misfit himself--reluctantly offers. Each day that passes gives them a chance to learn more about each other--the books they like, the music they share. They start to rely on each other to get through difficult times with their families and classmates. And eventually what they have becomes love. Narrators Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra turn in superb performances in their portrayal of Eleanor and Park. Despite her age, there is nothing sweet or childlike about Eleanor, and Lowman refrains from portraying her that way. Lowman's voice and tone believably capture the too-mature-too-soon strength of a girl living a hard life. Malhotra has a rich, smooth delivery, and perfectly renders Park as he fluctuates between confidence and insecurity. Listeners of all ages will be able to enjoy this audio edition. Ages 13-up. A St. Martin's Griffin hardcover. (Feb.)? Nonfiction[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
Gr 9 Up--Eleanor, 15, is the new girl at school and bullied because she's overweight and dresses in a flamboyant manner. Park is a half-Korean boy who has lived in Omaha, Nebraska, all his life but still feels like an outsider. This is a story of first love, which very slowly builds from the first day Eleanor sits next to Park on the school bus. First they ignore each other, and then they slowly become friends through their love of comic books and 1980s alternative music. Park is the only good thing in Eleanor's life. Her home life is a miserable exercise in trying to stay out of her abusive stepfather's way, and finding new ways to wear the same clothes repeatedly since there is no money for anything extra. Park adores everything about Eleanor, and she finds refuge at his house after school with his understanding parents. Things finally explode at Eleanor's house and Eleanor and Park's relationship is truly tested. The narrative points of view alternate between Eleanor and Park, adding dimension to Rowell's story (St. Martin's Griffin, 2013), and narrators Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhtra competently voice the pair. Give this to teenage girls who crave romance.--Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC[Page 56]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.