Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: YA Lit

Publisher: St. Martins

Pages: 448


Cath and her sister, Wren, have grown up in the world of Simon Snow (think Harry Potter). Cath even writes a hugely popular fan fic about the series. When it is time for them to go off to college, though, Wren is read to leave the Simon Snow world behind her, and see what else is out there in the world for her apart from being mainly know as a twin to Cath and Simo Snow fangirl. Cath, on the other hand, is not ready for any of this. She is blindsided that Wren has requested to not be her roommate, and is hurt that Wren prefers to spend the majority of her time hanging out and partying with her new roommate. As the socially awkward Cath attempts to navigate her freshman year of college without having her twin and best friend at her side, what will she discover about herself?

Being quite a fangirl myself (again, think Harry Potter…along with many others!) and that I did love Eleanor & Park, I expected that I would dive in and be fully engrossed in this book from the beginning…but I wasn’t. It moved just a bit slow for me, and I just couldn’t become as invested in it as I thought that I would. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was great, and the characters were fully developed and well written. It was a good book, it just wasn’t up there with Eleanor & Park, in my opinion. If you’re looking for a likeable coming of age story, though, this will be a good one, and chances are you may relate to it far more than I did! Many, many readers have!

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park cover

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: YA/Contemporary Romance

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Pages: 336

Eleanor- the new girl at school- comes from a dysfunctional (to say the least) family, and is bullied because she dresses weird, has wild red hair, and is a little overweight. Park- who has grown up in this same neighborhood his whole life- is half Korean/half Irish, comes from a good home, but is still a bit of an outcast because he loves alternative music and comic books. Park reluctantly lets Eleanor sit by him on the bus on her first day of school. From there, they begin to silently bond, as ark realizes that she is discreetly reading his comic books with him. That bond slowly grows in to first love throughout the school year. It’s difficult because of Eleanor’s home situation, but the make it work- until her home life erupts one fateful night.

Eleanor & Park is a story that reminds you of how it feels to find your first love. It’s a little awkward, and you really have no idea what you’re doing, but it’s sweet. It’s also a story that reminds you of how mean kids can be, especially when they have no idea of what someone is really going through. Never fear, those mean kids have a little redemption in there, too! It’s a bit of a coming of age story of these kids, in the mid 80’s, when it was even harder to know what to do in a bad situation and of how they came together to figure things out. It’s sweet, funny, and a little heartbreaking all at once. It was a really good book, and I really enjoyed it.