When Eleanor first meets Park, she thinks he's obnoxious. When Park first meets Eleanor, he thinks she's weird. It is hate at first sight. But as they suffer each other's company in silence on the bus rides from and to home every day, Eleanor and Park realise that first impressions can be deceiving.
Don't be fooled by the fact that I've rated this 2 stars as it is a much better book than that. I'd realistically give it 2.5 stars if I could and even that would be mean. Yeah, I know I'm sounding a bit mixed up huh and you must be wondering what I'm on about!
OK let me explain. I'm not a fan of contemporary books that feature romance. I wouldn't have bought this book for myself and it was actually a gift so it would've been rude not to at least try it. And there is a lot going for this book. The author has a great deal of talent as a storyteller. You can tell that from the beginning, as she really gets into the head of two teenagers who are in the school misfit category. She slowly builds up a friendship and then a romance from two kids who ignore each other and makes is real and believable. It is beautifully written and I can see why so many people rave about it.
Poor Eleanor is such a lovely girl who has been dealt really bad cards by Life. Her mother's husband is a brute and a thug who once kicked Eleanor out of her home and is not happy to see her back, making her life miserable. As she has nothing of value and few clothes, the bitches at school make her life a living hell and even Park to begin with won't even look at her. Your heart breaks for the poor girl and you just want things to change for her. It does when Park becomes her friend, along with a couple of girls at school.
Park knows that he is on the borderline of being targeted by the bullies so you can understand him being reluctant to be nice to Eleanor to begin with, to be seen siding with the 'weirdo'. Gradually his kind nature has him reaching out to her and the friendship is sweet and touching. He wants to protect and save her.
The book is slow and not much really happens in it, just the gradual relationship building and causing a ripple through the life that Eleanor has to become something more. I just personally found it too slow for my tastes as this is not the kind of book I generally choose and that is why I didn't finish it. My rating is certainly no reflection on the book or the author and if this is your genre, I recommend that you try it.