Eleanor & Park was the best book I read last year and it became an instant favorite. I’m so excited to blog about it and the rest of Rainbow’s books with Anna and Christine!
It starts on the bus, with Park just trying to fly under the radar. But it’s not going to happen. Being half Korean makes him stand out in an otherwise homogenous sea of white kids. Steve and his cronies are carelessly cruel, assuming Park knows things about martial arts because his mother is Asian, but not bothering to get the nationality correct. Tina is slier—she’s attentive enough to remember that Park’s mom is Korean and call her friends out when they get it wrong, but she delights in torturing Eleanor.
Park wants to ignore her, but he can’t look away. Park shares his seat with Eleanor even though he knows that he calls attention to himself by doing so. Even Eleanor can’t decide if Park “was one of them, or whether he was just really stupid,” (11). Eleanor would avoid the bus if she could, but her only alternative is getting a ride from her stepfather Richie. The kids on the bus are bad, but Richie is worse.
- The way Park gets embarrassed for other people it’s like we’re the same person.
- Why do all of the teachers talk on and on about Eleanor’s name?
- I love all of the Midwestern touches, like Village Inn and things that say Uff Da!
- “The children of hell shan’t go hungry on my watch” (12). What a great line! And those bus kids are so the children of hell.
Like Eleanor, Sophie Sophia, the heroine of The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna, knows about being the new girl in school. She and her mother move around a lot, because Sophie has elaborate hallucinations (like a marching band made up of pandas) that often lead to her expulsion. Sophie’s father, a brilliant physicist, suffered from similar episodes, but Sophie hasn’t seen him for years. So Sophie and her new BFF Finny go on an adventure to NYC to find her father and answers. Also, Sophie and Park would have a great time trading mix tapes.