Club Selection for February 2016
Eleanor & Park
Pages: 336 / Audio: 8 hrs and 56 mins
#1 New York Times Best Seller!
"Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it's like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it's like to be young and in love with a book."-John Green, The New York Times Book Review
Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we're 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.
A New York Times Best Seller!
A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Eleanor & Park is the winner of the 2013 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Best Fiction Book.
A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2013
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2013
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013
An NPR Best Book of 2013
Novel Gobblers Perspective
Simply put, this book is terrific.
The characters are flawed and lovable. The story is brilliant. It is not predictable. It is realistic; sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes troubling, sometimes beautiful. Our book club members all echoed the same sentiments - that this touching story carried us back to our teenage years and reminded us how we thought and felt at that age.
This was a super book that lives up all the good things you've heard about it.
Read it. You'll be glad you did.
About the Author
Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline).
Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl andCarry On.).
But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.
When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.
She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.
Follow Rainbow on Spotify
"Music is really important to me when I’m writing. I build soundtracks for each book in my head, and I associate each scene with a specific song. The song gives me an emotional anchor for the scene. So even if I’m writing the scene over a week, I can stay in the same frame of mind and emotional place. (You can see all my book and character playlists on Spotify.)" ~Yalsa.ala.org
The Inspiration Behind the Story
"I've always wanted to write a first-love story. There's something so powerful about falling in love for the first time; it's like a drug. I was thinking about how, when you're 16, you have the capacity to fall in love more powerfully than you do at any other time of your life. But you have so little of your own to offer. You can't make any promises - you don't have time or space or freedom. All you can promise someone is what you feel. It's like every 16-year-old in love is Romeo or Juliet . . . I wanted to write a book that viscerally reminded people what it was like to feel that way." ~ chicklit.com
My motivation was to make people actually feel love, to give them a realistic view of it. If they’re young and never been in love, for them to know – yes, this how it feels. And if they’re older and they have, to feel it as a sense memory." ~Publishers Weekly
Fan Art, Interviews, Quotes, & More
Downloadable PDF: Eleanor & Park Reading Group Questions
- Eleanor says she and Park are too young for true love. Do you believe that? Do you think Eleanor believes that?
- How do Eleanor and Park's parents shape their outlook on relationships and the future?
- Is Eleanor's mother a good mother? Why does she stay with Richie?
- Why does Park's mother change her mind about Eleanor?
- How is Park's relationship with his mother different from his relationship with his father? Who see Park more clearly, his father or his mother?
- Why is Park embarrassed by Eleanor? Is his embarrassment a betrayal?
- Steve says that he's Park's friend -- is he a true friend?
- Are Steve ad Tina good guys or bad guys in the story? Do you think Eleanor and Tina could ever be friends?
- How would Eleanor and Park's relationship be different in 2013? How would cell phones, digital music, and Internet access change their situation?
- What is the importance of music in Park's life and how is it different for Eleanor?
- Was Eleanor right to run away? Should she have left her brothers and sister behind?
- Was ther more she could have done to help them?
- Why doesn't Eleanor open Park's letters?
- What do you the postcard from Eleanor says? What do you think it means that she sent it?
- Do you think Eleanor and Park have a happy ending?
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- A major theme of this book is doomed love. Do you think Eleanor and Park's relationship was doomed from the beginning? Why?
- Eleanor and Park are each outsiders, but not in the same way. How is Eleanor different? What about Park?
- This book shows us two adult relationships that are polar opposites: Eleanor's mother's abusive relationship with Eleanor's stepfather, and the loving marriage of Park's parents. How does each of these relationships affect Eleanor and Park?
- Eleanor and Park's romance is definitely not love at first sight. How does Rowell hint at their connection from the start? How do we see their relationship change over the course of the story?
- Eleanor's stepfather, Richie, is the source of much of the evil in this book, but there are other factors that contribute to the abuse Eleanor endures throughout the story. What does this book teach us about what it's like to be a victim of abuse?
- One thing you're bound to notice right away is that this book's point of view alternates between Eleanor and Park, sometimes multiple times in the same chapter. Why do you think Rowell does this? How does this switch affect your reading experience?
- Does this switch change over time?