I think I may have found another favorite author. I never thought this would happen, but…she’s YA. And her name is Rainbow Rowell. I’ve already read two of her books and ordered the third. Her fourth will be published in July 2014, and I will most definitely be getting it.
Genre: Young Adult
Review in a word: Real
Opening line: “He’d stopped trying to bring her back.”
Eleanor is the new kid on the block in every way. Just started at the high school, with a quirky personality, quirky clothes, plump figure, and buoyant red hair. Her family is poor, and her stepdad had kicked her out a year before and just now let her return to live with her mom and several siblings. It’s a classic abusive relationship: Eleanor’s mom looks to Richie for security and a meager amount of love, and in return he abuses her and her children. But he has a special vendetta against Eleanor.
Meanwhile Park is a half-Korean pretty normal guy. His parents love each other very much and he has grown up in a safe and encouraging atmosphere. When he meets Eleanor on the bus, he’s not happy to let her sit next to him, but it’s the only way to stop her from absolutely humiliating herself. Eventually, they become friends, and then more than friends.
I read this 300-page book in an afternoon. I just could not stop. Rowell’s writing is too engrossing. And although set in the 80s (a time period that holds absolutely no charm for me), I felt that the characters were completely relatable. It was all very real. Rowell gives us characters whose fears and faults are just like ours. It’s not by any means a happy story: the challenges and abuses they face are very much real. This book just proves to me again what YA is capable of. Just because it’s about teenagers doesn’t mean it’s just for teenagers. I loved it.
How could it be possible that there were that many nerve endings all in one place? And were they always there, or did they just flip on whenever they felt like it? Because, if they were always there, how did she manage to turn doorknobs without fainting?
Rowell really shines in small moments between her characters, moments that other people find hard to describe. And they’re moments that are hard to quote, because you have to read the whole section. And they’re just that good.
What I’m Reading Next: Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge
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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Every Day by David Levithan
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak